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Deforestation as finance climate risk – key stats and progress, of sorts

The Chain Reaction Research newsletter, published by Climate Advisors, recently highlighted deforestation as a financial risk. Their recent note makes for interesting and useful reading:

The Chain: Deforestation as a Climate Risk for Investors

Here’s a few choice excerpts which include some helpful framing numbers:

“Approximately 70 percent of deforestation is connected to agricultural commodity production, and deforestation alone accounts for approximately 15 percent of global emissions

“All IPCC pathways to limit global warming to under 1.5 degrees require a global halt to deforestation. Forests are a natural carbon sink that sequesters carbon, removing 10-15 billion tonnes annually from the atmosphere. Some estimates suggest that forests’ ability to sequester carbon could account for 23 percent of global climate change mitigation by 2030.”

Onto investors, the note summarised progress thus far as such:

“Notable investors that have incorporated “detailed, time-bound” policies to curb deforestation risks include HSBC (USD 442 billion AUM), Rabobank (USD 669 billion AUM), and Credit Suisse (USD 374 billion AUM). Meanwhile, the largest pension fund in the United States, CalPERS, has included deforestation in its investment policies. ESG investing has risen sharply in recent years and is mainstream. Globally, sustainable investing totals USD 31 trillion, about 10 percent of global wealth, with Europe in the lead”

“Despite the growing awareness, attention to deforestation-related risks among investors has been limited. As a whole, financial institutions lag behind companies in developing zero-deforestation policies. The top 10 asset managers in the world, which have approximately USD 25 trillion of assets under management, have not incorporated detailed zero-deforestation commitments with timelines.”

So there we have it: Some activity, but deforestation is not yet specifically on the list for the biggest asset managers, particularly passive types such as Blackrock.

We’ll be debating this, and what will drive more interest and engagement, and when at Innovation Forum’s flagship annual conference: Sustainable Landscapes and Commodities Forum (20th-21st November 2019, London).

 The two day conference will attract 350+ business leaders to debate and showcase real world solutions to the most pressing challenges in commodity supply chains. We’ll look at what’s driving value chain change and how business is working to deliver on increasingly difficult sustainability targets.

See here for more information on the agenda and the confirmed speakers to date.

Sessions will be centred around four key themes of Land, Forests, Farmers, LivelihoodsAgenda highlights include:

  • 2020 targets and beyond: What’s been achieved and what’s next for business objectives around deforestation?
  • The landscape approach to sustainable commodities: Is this the most effective way to drive resilient rural communities?
  • Sustainable land management: How business can enable better water management, tackle the soil crisis, engage in climate smart agriculture and embed sustainable agriculture techniques
  • The decade of ecosystem restoration: The possibilities and what it means for climate change, offsets and re-invigorating nature
  • Social and economic outcomes: How business can embed sustainable practices, boost livelihoods and drive resilience amongst smallholder farmers and local communities
  • Reframing the narrative: Should business move from enforcing zero-deforestation to incentivising sustainable development when engaging producer countries?
  • Business and biodiversity: How to effectively monitor, protect and promote biodiversity throughout operations and supply chains
  • Landscapes 101: In-depth practical workshops into the fundamentals of the landscape approach and how business can get started
  • Cross commodity learning: In-depth case studies into leading initiatives, programs and partnerships across a range of commodity supply chains

So far we’ve confirmed senior participants from organisations such as Mondelez International, Nestlé, Greenpeace, L’Oréal, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Dole Food Company, ICMM, Louis Dreyfus Company, The Nature Conservancy, APRIL, NYU Stern, Reckitt Benckiser, Soil Association, GAR, Sime Darby, The World Bank, Consumer Goods Forum, Cargill, Global Agribusiness Alliance, TFA2020, World Agroforestry, Ethical Tea Partnership, ASR Group, WaterAid, Send a Cow, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Earthworm Foundation, UK Roundtable on Sustainable Soy, Hilton Food Group and many more..

Please let us know if you would like a sample list of last year’s attendees and we would be happy to send that over.

If you wish to join, take advantage of our early bird rate with a £400 discount (ends next Friday, July 5th). Registration details can be found here.

We strongly encourage delegates to join as a team to ensure you don’t miss anything across the four tracks. Please get in touch for details on group discounts and feel free to share this with any interested colleagues.


Tanya Richard | Project Director

Innovation Forum: events and insights for sustainability

+44 (0) 203 780 7437