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Deforestation drivers in your shopping basket

Image shows a shopping basket containing forest-risk items

Unwittingly consumers are contributing to the destruction of the world’s tropical forests because companies are failing to prevent ingredients linked to deforestation from entering their supply chains.

Global Canopy has identified a shopping basket of everyday items, including biscuits, cat food and chocolate that are putting the forests at risk because the manufacturers have failed to take action to address the deforestation risk in their supplies [1].

Despite clear evidence that tackling deforestation is crucial to address climate change  and despite many major companies making zero deforestation pledges, tropical forests are still being cleared to make way for crops such as soy and palm oil, and for cattle.

Our basket includes popular brands such as Oreos, Nutella, Dr Oetker and Heinz which all use soy, palm oil or beef products in their ingredients – or use animal products from livestock or poultry that is likely to have been fed on soy (hidden soy). Most of the soy grown in South America – where forests and native vegetation are being cleared for soy in Brazil and Paraguay - is used for animal feed.

Global Canopy researcher Sarah Rogerson explained:

Far too many of the items on our supermarket shelves are putting the world’s tropical forests at risk because of the ingredients they contain. Some companies are taking action to ensure their supply chains are not responsible for driving deforestation, but too many big name companies have still to act.”

The items in Global Canopy’s shopping basket have each been scored based on the manufacturer’s approach to addressing deforestation, taken from Global Canopy’s Forest 500 assessment of 350 of the most influential companies in forest risk supply chains. Each company is given a score out of five for their approach to deforestation [2].

While some companies are taking action to ensure their palm oil, soy, cattle and packaging are not linked to deforestation, presenting clear evidence of strong policies and implementation to address the deforestation risk, our assessment identified that this was not the case for the following products:



table of companies affected

Global Canopy also assessed the deforestation approach of the UK’s top five supermarkets: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Morrisons and Asda (under owner, Walmart). None of these supermarkets scored higher than 3/5 due to gaps in deforestation policies or lack of reporting and implementation of existing policies.

Sarah Rogerson added:

“We want companies that are exposed to deforestation through their supply chains to make a commitment to zero deforestation across all of their ingredients. But companies must go beyond words and take action to address these deforestation risks and ensure that their supply chains are deforestation-free. No-one wants to be responsible for destroying forests as a result of the things they buy.” 




[1] See our shopping basket graphic here

[2] Forest 500 ranks 350 companies on the strengths of their deforestation commitments and on their reported actions to implement those commitments for soy, palm oil, cattle, timber, and pulp and paper, with companies receiving a score out of five. The full results are available here.

0/5 means that the company has not begun to think about forest impacts, and not even shown an awareness of the issue.

1/5 means that the company has either shown some awareness or set some weak commodity commitments

2/5 or 3/5 means that the company has set some forest-related commitments but is not reporting or implementing them across the board.

4/5 means that the company has commitments and performs some reporting and implementation

5/5 means that the company has forest-related commitments for all of its commodities and is reporting progress and implementation activities.