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Consumer goods companies must do more to tackle deforestation in their supply chains

Image shows supermarket shelf

New analysis by Global Canopy’s Forest 500 project finds that consumer goods manufacturers and retailers are not acting to address the risk of deforestation in their supply chains, nine years after the Consumer Goods Forum made a public resolution to support zero net deforestation in its members’ forest-risk commodity supply chains by 2020 [1, 2].

These companies are some of the biggest buyers of forest-risk ingredients, such as soy, palm oil, pulp and paper, and cattle products, and include big brands such as Mars, Unilever and Amazon [3].

The Consumer Goods Forum resolution, announced in 2010, was intended to drive a step-change in company behaviour and reduce the impact of deforestation on climate change.

Global Canopy’s analysis looked at the performance of 74 Consumer Goods Forum members who are all included in the Forest 500 assessment of the biggest players in forest-risk supply chains [3].

It found that just 36% of these companies have made a commitment to address deforestation in all of the forest-risk commodity supply chains, and that one in five have made no commitments at all on deforestation.

Some 45% of the companies assessed have made a commitment to address deforestation in some, but not all commodity supply chains.  

Global Canopy’s Forest 500 project lead said:

The Consumer Goods Forum showed admirable leadership in its resolution to support members to achieve zero deforestation in their supply chains, but our analysis suggests that some of the key players in forest-risk supply chains have not done enough for this goal to be delivered.

“While some member companies have taken steps to address the deforestation risks in their supplies of soy, palm oil and beef, far too many have failed to act, or have only taken limited action. These companies must urgently ramp up their ambition and address the forest risk in their sourcing policies.

“Tropical forests are crucial in the fight against climate change and essential havens for the planet’s rich resources of biodiversity. They also provide a home for millions of people. It is not acceptable that they should be destroyed simply to feed our appetite for meat, confectionary and dairy products.

Global Canopy is urging Consumer Goods Forum members to put in place clear goals and timelines for ensuring that their supply chains are deforestation-free, and it is urging the Consumer Goods Forum to reach out to companies and support them in this.

ENDS

Contact: Helen Burley, h.burley@globalcanopy.org

 

Notes:

[1] Consumer Goods Forum will not achieve deforestation goal, Global Canopy, September 2019 https://www.globalcanopy.org/publications/consumer-goods-forum-will-not-achieve-deforestation-goal  

[2] The Consumer Goods Forum resolution on deforestation reads:

Deforestation accounts for 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Every minute, tropical rainforest of the size of 50 football fields is destroyed. Whilst the causes of deforestation are complex, it is generally acknowledged that the biggest drivers are the cultivation of soya and palm oil, logging for the production of paper and board and the rearing of cattle. All of these commodities are major ingredients in the supply chains of most consumer goods companies. Our member companies drive the demand for these commodities and have an opportunity to ensure that the sourcing of these ingredients does not contribute to deforestation.

Therefore, in 2010, our Board approved a resolution to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. We aim to achieve this through the responsible sourcing of these key commodities – soy, palm oil, paper and pulp and cattle – so that the sourcing of these key commodities will not deplete tropical rainforests. It’s a big ask, and there is much to be done, but through working collectively in partnership with governments and NGOs, the creation of key documents, important stakeholder meetings and through webinars and other materials, change is taking place. See: https://www.theconsumergoodsforum.com/initiatives/environmental-sustainability/key-projects/deforestation/ 

[3] A list of Consumer Goods Forum members is available here: https://www.theconsumergoodsforum.com/who-we-are/our-members/

[4] The Forest 500 project has identified and ranked the 500 largest powerbrokers in the supply chains linked to global deforestation annually since 2014. To read the latest assessment, see here:

https://forest500.org/forest-500-annual-report-2018-countdown-2020

 

Photo: Image by Squirrel_photos via Pixabay