Business and deforestation – are companies going to meet their supply chain commitments?
The latest reports from TFA 2020 and Supply Change analyse corporate progress and track the latest trends around deforestation.
While there is growing evidence that companies are setting goals to manage deforestation within their commodity supply chains, analysis shows that much remains to be done to increase the momentum toward the necessary transformational action.
These two new reports show how leading companies are working towards deforestation-free commodity supply chains. The webinar panellists included:
- Marco Albani, director, TFA 2020
- Stephen Donofrio, senior advisor, Supply Change
- Katie McCoy, head of forests program, CDP
- Hannah Hislop, senior global advocacy manager, Unilever
- Anita Neville, vice president corporate communications & sustainability relations, Golden Agri-Resources
Moderated by Ian Welsh, publishing director, Innovation Forum
Website link here and embedded below.
The key findings from the Supply Change report are:
- Progress reporting on commitments is on the rise: progress information is publicly available for over half of commitments to deforestation-free supply chains (51%) tracked by Supply Change over a two-year time frame—a dramatic increase from Supply Change’s 2016 report, which found only one in three (36%) commitments were backed by transparent progress. In other words, 57% more pledges are accompanied by transparent reporting in 2017 than in 2016.
- Commitments on palm, and timber & pulp continue to lead the way, thanks in large part to more well-established certification programs and scrutiny around palm oil-driven deforestation. Commitment rates remain considerably lower for soy and cattle, which is troubling given their outsized contribution to tropical forest loss.
- Business structure and size plays a role: in terms of making commitments, smaller, private companies continue to lag behind their larger, publicly traded peers.
- Commitment rates vary across the length of a supply chain: retailers had the lowest rate of commitments—54%—compared to their peers that operate “upstream” within supply chains (producers, 71%; processors, 72%; traders, 70%; and manufacturers, 66%)
- Commitments that aren’t accompanied by progress reporting run the risk of becoming “dormant”: Supply Change found that one in five commitments has a target date that is past due—or never had a target date at all—and has never had progress information available. A third of the 447 companies with commitments have at least one commitment that is dormant.
- Collective action spurs individual action: in its first-ever analysis of commitments made by members of coalitions and group initiatives that collectively act on deforestation, Supply Change found that at least 95% of participants in groups such as the High Carbon Stock Approach Group, Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, and Tropical Forest Trust have adopted pledges—as have 98% of signatories to the New York Declaration on Forests.
- Companies are increasingly incorporating policies that address on-the-ground impacts into their commitments: Supply Change, for the first time, analyzed commitments for 10 such policies and found 37% of tracked commitments now explicitly prioritize protection of biodiversity and wildlife. Other popular additions include reducing greenhouse gas emissions (35%) and improving water management (29%).
Coming up soon from Innovation Forum:
- Innovation for sustainable agriculture – 22-23 March – Washington DC
- How business can tackle deforestation – 3-4 April – Washington DC
- How business can tackle modern slavery and forced labour – 25-26 April – London
- Sustainable apparel forum – 13-14 June – Amsterdam
- How business can tackle forced labor – 26-27 June – Washington DC
- Sustainability measurement – 21-22 June – London