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Pur Project has been nominated in the category “Greener than green” in this year’s Pinocchio Awards as it is considered to be one of three companies “which has led the most abusive and misleading communication campaign in regard to its actual activities”. Pur Project is nominated for its reforestation and forest conservation projects in Peru – claiming to compensate for the pollution of multinational corporations, without taking the local communities in consideration.
Pur Project was created in 2009 with the notion to assist companies in incorporating climate issues into ecosystems through agroforestry, reforestation, and forest conservation. Pur Project promotes itself as developing “socio-environmental projects to regenerate, revitalize and preserve the ecosystem, in partnership with disadvantaged communities.” Sylvain Angerand, from Friends of the Earth France, says Pur Project’s business idea is basically to “push the idea that a company can offset its carbon emissions by planting trees in the Global South”
Sylvain, together with members of Friends of Earth, traveled to San Martin in Peru to investigate Pur Project’s forest conservation and reforestation projects and found several problems within the projects. In regard to Pur Project’s reforestation projects he claims that: “We first visited a farmer that was contracted with Pur Project to plant trees to stop carbon emissions. The first result is that the farmer was not very aware of the consequences of this kind of carbon contract. Even about the price. The company gives them very little compensation for planting trees.” By using carbon-offsetting systems the Pur Project offers companies a mean to avoid reducing their own emissions. Companies instead pay Pur Project to reduce emissions in the Global South; with it being very difficult to prove that carbon offsetting actually results in net reductions.
Sylvain continues by saying that the second part of the mission that was linked to the forest conservation project in San Martin includes the conservation of the Martin Sagrado reserve. He explains that: “The community that lives inside the protected area, in a very remote place, was not consulted at all and does not know what will the impacts be.” He continues saying that: “The people inside the forest are people without rights, as they have no benefits. Because of this project, it will be harder and harder to cultivate land, and for them to feed themselves. It is really a big problem, in this area, like many other areas in the world; people have no right to their land. When the company arrives it negotiates with the government and creates carbon credits and carbon rights and transfers these rights to some French or European company. But what is the legitimacy of this right? What are carbon rights when you have no land rights?”
In addition, Sylvain highlighted the nomination of Pur Project to this year’s Pinocchio Awards pointing to these contrasts: “They cannot up run the project and say that it is a project for the community because they have not considered the community within the forest”.
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