The Nature Conservancy and Amazon partner to find ‘natural climate solutions’ – but who will benefit?

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

Home » Amazon’s $100m to ‘restore and protect’

Published: 22 September 2019

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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The Nature Conservancy has announced a $100 million commitment from Amazon to restore and protect forests, wetlands, grasslands and peatlands around the world.

Net zero by 2040

Amazon is partnering with The Nature Conservancy to assess carbon reduction programmes and to identify, design and implement natural climate solutions initiatives, which will be supported by the Right Now Climate Fund.

The fund is one part of the company’s efforts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across its business by 2040.

‘The business community has a crucial role to play in shaping a sustainable future for people and our planet. The science is clear: healthy forests, grasslands and wetlands are some of the most effective tools we have to address climate change—but we must act now to take this strategy to scale.

‘We applaud Amazon’s announcement today and urge other companies to invest in natural climate solutions and to transition to more sustainable ways of operating. A commitment of this size is an exciting opportunity, with the potential to drive transformational change.

‘The Nature Conservancy looks forward to exploring how we can apply our science, reach, and on-the-ground experience to support our conservation mission and Amazon’s goals.’

SALLY JEWELL
Interim CEO, The Nature Conservancy

‘Now is the time to think big and work toward innovative solutions to climate change’, said Kara Hurst, worldwide director of sustainability, Amazon. ‘We need a partner like TNC to ensure we apply the best conservation science and develop strategic programs to reach our goals.’

‘Solutions’ for big business

The Nature Conservancy is one of the world’s biggest environmental organisations; listing American Express, Shell, PepsiCo, JPMorgan Chase, Delta Airlines, Cargill, Colgate-Palmolive and Avon among its collaborators, it has a long history of attracting big business.

Coca-Cola enlisted The Nature Conservancy’s help after announcing efforts to return to nature and communities ‘an amount of water equivalent to what is used in finished beverages’.

Coca-Cola donated $2 million in ‘replenishment credits’ to support nine freshwater replenishment projects, in watersheds throughout North America, that are run by The Nature Conservancy.

Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock; Vincent Ryan, chairman of Schooner Capital LLC; Douglas Petno, CEO of commercial banking at JPMorgan Chase and Moses K Tsang, chairman of AP Capital Holdings are all on The Nature Conservancy’s board of directors.

Senior management was shaken up after the organisation was hit by accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct earlier this year.

The Nature Conservancy has been involved in other scandals around its land-holdings in the USA – it has reportedly earned revenue from an oil well on one of them.

Magical thinking?

According to an article by Chris Lang (REDD-Monitor) and Simon Counsell (Rainforest Foundation UK), The Nature Conservancy has been a key driver behind the concept of natural climate solutions.

‘The Nature Conservancy claims that ‘natural climate solutions’ is based on ‘new science’, but it isn’t’, they say. ‘The key scientific paper on which it is based – much hyped and turned into nature-friendly soundbites which ignore all the many provisos hidden in the technical annex – is a combination of purely theoretical figures, disregard for political and historical realities, utterly implausible assumptions, magical thinking, and complete omission of key factors such as equity issues.’

‘Whether organisations such as TNC are deliberately serving the purposes of the fossil fuel business is debatable. They certainly have close friends in the industry, indeed a representative of Duke Energy has been on their Board. TNC is working with Shell on the oil company’s programme to greenwash its planet-destroying activities with natural climate solutions. Many of the oil majors are present on TNC’s Business Council. In 2018, the Nature Conservancy, along with several other organisations with a vested interest in pushing ‘natural climate solutions’ set up a new outfit called ‘Nature4Climate’ specifically for the purpose of promoting and PRing the concept – and headed by a former BP communications executive.

‘It’s clear that the underlying purpose of promoting natural climate solutions is to re-orientate the climate debate away from reduction in fossil fuel emissions. The campaign messages promoted by the likes of Nature4Climate, and endlessly repeated by The Nature Conservancy and others, are frequently accompanied by demands that more climate funding is directed towards these ‘forgotten’ natural solutions. Their organisational coffers would, of course, benefit from any such change.’

Chris Lang (REDD-Monitor) and Simon Counsell (Rainforest Foundation UK)

CLICK HERE TO READ OUR ARTICLE ABOUT THE 70% OF COMPANIES FAILING TO DISCLOSE THEIR IMPACT ON THE WORLD’S FORESTS.

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