Ten, no, thirteen ways to remove tropical deforestation from commodity supply chains

If, like me, you have a folder on your desktop with 20-50 unread 80-120 page reports on sustainable commodities, you may find a shorter, sharper version of many of the issues and solutions in this area, quite useful.

So here’s a link to one, written by Climate Focus and published by TFA 2020. It’s something you can also pass on to others, who perhaps need to understand the issues, but don’t have time to wade through 100+ pages.

The briefing/report suggests ten ways to remove tropical deforestation from commodity supply chains. I’ve added a few more of my own below.

The ten headlines are: (a lot more, but not overwhelming detail is in the report itself, obviously)

1. Eliminating illegality from supply chains
2. Growing and strengthening palm oil certification
3. Scaling up pilot programmes of sustainable intensi cation of cattle grazing
4. Sustainably increasing smallholder yields in palm oil and cocoa
5. Achieving sustainable soy production
6. Accelerating the implementation of jurisdictional programmes
7. Addressing land conflicts, tenure security and land rights
8. Mobilizing demand for deforestation-free commodities in emerging markets
9. Redirecting finance towards deforestation-free supply chains
10. Improving the quality and availability of deforestation and supply chain data

I would add a few more myself:

11. Improving the institutional environment for prevention
By which I mean not just tackling illegality, but pre-illegal structures, such as tackling corrupt systems, and changing expectations by showing citizens/criminals/anyone the consequences of their actions and enabling cultural change in expectations.
Knowing you will get caught and punished and be socially admonished, is a major deterrent in any country.

12. Focusing much more on local capacity building (linked to 11 above) for changing expectations but also in ‘real time’ monitoring.

13. Linked to 12 above, improving local expertise in on the ground implementation and consistency of policy/legal expectations around issues from sustainable livelihoods/deforestation prevention, to human rights protection issues.

On point number two, above, this is the key challenge for me, which I would have liked to have seen addressed more substantially: “However, if palm oil certification is to have maximum effect on deforestation levels, an increase in demand for certi ed supplies and improvements in certification requirements are needed.” Well, quite, so how should that work? I suppose  an entirely separate briefing would be needed to explore this further, and this is not a new suggestion, see here for more.

All in all though, this is the kind of briefing/report companies often need more of, so they can use them internally to get that all-important buy in across procurement and in ExCo’s, not just in the sustainability department (ah the Holy Grail eh)

We’ll be discussing all these issues, and the role business can play in making them happen, in Jakarta, with TFA 2020 in a couple of weeks (see who’s coming here, and the agenda, here) and in London on November 14-15. Again, speakers here and agenda is here. I hope you can join us. If not, sign up for podcasts, webinars and updates on www.innovation-forum.co.uk