Only a handful of governments, companies and investors have comprehensive policies in place to halt the slashing and burning of forests, despite bold pledges to end deforestation.
That’s the warning of a new index from the Global Canopy Programme that ranks the 500 key actors controlling the global supply chains of at risk commodities driving over half of global deforestation such as soya, palm oil, beef, leather, timber, pulp and paper.
Together these 500 actors – which include 250 companies, 150 investors and lenders and 50 countries and regions – have an annual trade value of more than $100 billion and are found in over 50% of packaged products in supermarkets.
Mario Rautner, Global Canopy Programme’s Drivers of Deforestation Programme Manager said:
We are currently all part of a global deforestation economy. Deforestation is in our chocolate and our toothpaste, our animal feed and our textbooks, our buildings and our furniture, our investments and our pensions.
Deforestation and land use change is responsible for more than 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It also undermines regional water security, and threatens the livelihoods of more than one billion people worldwide.
At the UN Climate Summit in New York last September, prominent representatives business, governments, indigenous communities and civil society signed a landmark commitment to cut natural deforestation in half by 2020.
The New York Declaration on Forests also calls for a complete end to natural deforestation by 2030.
A similar pledge to achieve net zero deforestation by 2020 has been signed by the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a global association of companies and service providers, including major manufacturers and retailers.
The analysis warns that at current rates this zero deforestation will not be met, and only a small majority of player are currently equipped to tackle the problem.
Danone, Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Kao Corp were all among the seven of the Forest 500 who achieved a maximum five out of five
Danone, Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Kao Corp achieved the maximum five out of five, as did HSBC bank on the investor side.
None of the 30 Chinese companies listed, on the other hand, score more than one. Pizza chain Dominoes and clothing retailer Gap also scored low.
For national governments, the scores are less wide-ranging. Colombia, Brazil and Peru lead the pack with four out of five, while Madagascar, Nigeria and Angola ranked lowest on two each.
Together, these 500 countries, companies and investors have the power to clean up global supply chains and virtually put an end to tropical deforestation…. Though the Forest 500 findings highlight that much work needs to be done, the good news is that a number of big players across sectors are demonstrating the leadership that is needed. Putting policies in place is just the necessary first step in addressing tropical deforestation and their implementation will be critical in order to transition to deforestation free supply chains by 2020.
One piece of good news was that those involved in the Consumer Goods Forum, scored 80% higher than average among companies.