The forests are disappearing with irrevocable consequences for our planet: loss of biodiversity, climate change, rise in zoonotic diseases (transmitted from animals to humans) etc.

The impact of governments and businesses is huge. We may not all be in a position to directly change their policies but we can, at an individual level, re-examine our own consumption and become consumer activists reducing our own contribution to this destruction.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of measures we can take so that we in turn can give something back to the forest.

1- I make sure products I use contain responsibly sourced leather

Leather comes from the hides of cattle which in turn require pasture.

In South America,  ⅔ of deforestation is linked to the pasture required for cattle ranching to produce mostly beef and leather. Up until now there has been little export of South American beef, the leather however, is traded globally and France ranks as the world’s second largest consumer of shoes.

What can I do ?

  • Buy shoes and other leather products second hand
  • Ask retailers about the origin of the leather products you buy to be sure it does not come from ranches which contribute to deforestation (look for labels e.g. Naturleder) 
  • Take your damaged leather shoes to be repaired, prolonging their product life
  • Re-sell or give away, don’t throw away
  • Take your shoes to a collection point when you’ve finished with them

Click here for more :  Leather is giving the forest a hiding

2- I go for wood which is certified, legal and why not local !

It is estimated that 40% of the tropical timber imported to France comes from illegal logging. As for our own domestic timber, the production is increasingly industrialised and from monoculture. As a result, soil quality is depleted, biodiversity is disappearing and the timber is used primarily for heating. 

What can I do ?

  • Optimise your printing by formatting your printer (double-sided, black and white only, multiple pages per sheet etc.) 
  • Refuse flyers and catalogues in your letterbox and/or handed out in the street
  • Opt for sustainably produced packaging such as that certified FSC and recycled paper
  • Prioritise buying loose products (dried fruit, pulses, cereal, seeds, rice, detergent, cosmetics)
  • Choose products made from FSC certified or local timber (France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland)

3- I reduce my consumption of products made from rare earth minerals or oil

Oil, gold, coltan… These rare natural resources are generally present in our electronic devices. As an example, a mobile phone might contain up to 40 precious metals.

What can I do ?

  • Choose second hand products
  • Don’t fall for the trick of planned obsolescence : visit a Repair Café to get your devices repaired rather than replacing them
  • Recycle your used appliances by dropping them off at an appropriate collection point (shop, waste recycling centre or community resource network).
  • Don’t just follow the crowd, hold on to your appliances until the end of their life.

4-  I vary my sources of protein

Most meat consumed in France (especially poultry) is produced by intensive farming methods and raised mostly on GM soya. The soya used is widely imported from South America where it represents one of the principle causes of deforestation.

What can I do ?

Vary your sources of protein (e.g. lentils, chick-peas, beans, soya, produced in France and ORGANIC)
Opt for meat and by-products (eggs and dairy) reared locally with local feed or which are ORGANIC
Find out how the animals are fed on the farms your food is coming from.
The AB (BIO) label is guaranteed GM free

Source : Guide des produits contenant des OGM par Greenpeace 

5 – I limit my consumption of imported products 

Coffee, chocolate, coconut oil and avocados are all everyday products. However, none of them are produced in Europe and have to travel halfway across the planet before landing on our plates. 

What can I do ?

  • Choose hot drink brands which provide sufficient environmental guarantees (e.g. Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, etc.) or which are locally produced
  • Select fair trade labelled brands
  • Reduce your consumption of chocolate bars and sweets which contain just a little cocoa and for which the cocoa is not traceable
  • Eat more seasonal and locally produced fruit and vegetables
  • Make your own cosmetics using locally produced oils (almond, olive, hempseed etc.).

Support reforestation through our coffee and agroforestry project

6 – I make the way I travel more efficient

Palm-oil plantations are the chief cause of deforestation in South East Asia. Palm oil can be found in many products, not only food but also cosmetics (soap, creams, oils, perfume, beauty and make-up products) as well as cleaning products. However, it’s in our fuel where we are most likely to find it as this represents ⅔ of France’s palm oil use !

What can I do ?

  • Use public transport or cycle
  • Only take the plane when absolutely necessary and opt for the train whenever possible
  • Eat a balanced diet with fresh products you cook yourself
  • Read closely the ingredient lists on products you purchase to detect the presence of palm oil and ensure they do not result from deforestation

7- Support local businesses and buy direct from the producer

Large scale internationally present manufacturers have the greatest impact on the environment. In seeking to sell to the largest public possible and across the planet they lose control of their supply chains and become contributors to deforestation.

What can I do ?

  • Shop at farmers’ markets, producer-consumer networks and co-operatives and exchange directly with the producers themselves
  • Buy second hand clothes and don’t give in to fast fashion pressure
  • Make sure the shop brands you trust apply the same rules to the foreign subsidiaries they own 
  • Choose and ethical electricity provider.

For more information : Casino Group: Responsible for deforestation 

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