By Anders Lorenzen
Revolut, a fast-expanding mobile payment app, has joined the fight to protect the Amazon rainforest which this August has seen devastating wildfires blamed on intensive logging and deforestation through the slash-and-burn technique. Since Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro entered power early this year, deforestation levels have tripled in the country compared to the same level the previous year, galvanising global attention and political action.
Revolut, a fin-tech company, has teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Rainforest Alliance on an emergency appeal to support those on the front line of the devastating fires in the Amazon rainforest. The money received through donations will help critical issues such as battling the devastation on the ground, as well as supporting local and indigenous community needs for medical assistance, firefighter training and security. The company said that all donations to The Rainforest Alliance made through Revolut will be directed towards efforts in the Amazon, and for the next week, all donations to WWF will be treated likewise.
“The fires raging through the Amazon are an urgent global issue because we can’t fight the climate crisis without stopping the destruction of our forests. We’d like to thank Revolut for supporting our emergency appeal and giving their customers an easy way to help”, Rob Wood, Head of Partnership Communications at WWF-UK said.
Han de Groot, CEO at Rainforest Alliance explained why what is happening in the Amazon is so important: “Through its 30-year history, the Rainforest Alliance has focused on preventing deforestation at the nexus of agriculture and business. Forests, better agricultural practices, and holistic land management are a crucial component to reducing the effects of climate change. While that certainly means changing land management practices to be more environmentally sustainable, it also must entail a change in how farmers are remunerated for their hard work, the way companies source their ingredients, and what we consume.”
Revolut says that donations will also help fund work with governments on future regulations to protect rainforests and partnerships with businesses to find more sustainable ways of working.
Nik Storonsky, CEO and Founder at Revolut said about the initiative: “The rainforests are one of the world’s most important ecosystems, so it is devastating to witness the fires currently destroying vast areas of the Amazon. Through our work with WWF and The Rainforest Alliance, we want to help people donate easily and support efforts to tackle the fires, offer emergency relief and protect our rainforests.”
Revolut only launched their donations feature in July this year, which allows all users to round up their card payments and donate the difference to charity. Customers can also donate by setting up a recurring payment or making one-off donations. The company states they do not charge a fee and all money donated will go directly to the charities, there is no minimum donation and it is easy to turn on and off your donations.
The Brazil Country Lead at the Rainforest Alliance Mariana Barbosa explained why people reaching out across the world is so important: “In such a heartbreaking moment for our country, it is deeply encouraging to see this massive wave of solidarity, led by people from all over the world. In just a few short days, small donations made through social media became a substantial source of support for five Brazilian frontline organizations working to defend the Amazon rainforest and its Indigenous people, demonstrating that collective action can make a big difference.”
In 2015, former investment bankers Nik Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko founded Revolut as a digital alternative to the big banks. The company boasts of six million customers in Europe through the services they offer from interbank exchange rate to spending overviews, budgeting controls, savings features and cryptocurrency exchange.