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Interfaith Rainforest Initiative

Diverse religious and indigenous leaders join forces to address the impacts of deforestation, prevent future rainforest loss, and defend forest protectors.

The Interfaith Rainforest Initiative (IRI) brings the world’s top faith and indigenous leaders together to speak with one voice about the impacts of deforestation. Before the King of Norway and the United Nations Environment Program launched the IRI in 2017, global efforts to address rainforest destruction focused primarily on government policies, donor support programs, carbon markets, and land use planning. They did not sufficiently address the spiritual and ethical dimensions of deforestation. 

Meridian helped IRI leadership design the Initiative and facilitate key strategy meetings between spiritual and indigenous leaders and others to advance their shared goals. Serving as a strategic advisor, we work closely with IRI leadership to implement the commitments called for in the faith leaders’ joint statement: to reduce deforestation and support forest protectors in five key countries.    

As a trusted broker and neutral convener of diverse perspectives, Meridian was the ideal partner to help faith leaders find common ground about the spiritual dimensions of deforestation. We currently provide strategic advice and facilitation as the IRI explores what is needed from governments, the private sector, and political leaders in order to protect our forests.

Today, the IRI is elevating global visibility about the spiritual rationale for reducing deforestation. Using its shared platform, it is encouraging decision-makers at the global, national, and local levels in Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to reduce deforestation from commodities like pulp, soy, beef, and palm oil. The IRI’s successes are a powerful testament to the importance of incorporating spiritual perspectives into environmental problem-solving.

Project Team

Learn more about the team that led the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative project.