Illustration by Tjeerd Royaards

Fake Green Finance, an IJ4EU-supported investigation into how Europe rewards deforestation in Indonesia, has won the Europe Prize of the prestigious Lorenzo Natali Media Prize awarded by the European Commission.

IJ4EU grantees Stefano Valentino and Emanuela Barbiroglio, both Italian journalists, won the prize for work published in VoxEurope exposing how so-called European green finance is paying for deforestation on the other side of the world.  

“Their piece delved into the realm of sustainable development projects and green finance, shedding light on the fact that these initiatives can sometimes be deceiving,” the European Commission said in a statement.

“They highlighted a certified ‘green’ project by Michelin in Indonesia, revealing its potential contribution to the destruction of the rainforest, thus misleading environmentally conscious investors.”

Established in 1992, the Lorenzo Natali Media Prize celebrates the work of journalists worldwide “who have made an extraordinary contribution to the profession and have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the fundamental values of journalism, addressing crucial issues such as the human impact of inequality, poverty and climate change, as well as the importance of education and the value of human rights in our society”.

The award is named after former European Commission Vice-President Lorenzo Natali, known for championing freedom of expression and human rights.