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Reflections on progress around zero deforestation targets, by Duncan Pollard at Nestle

When I penned my original recent post: “1000 days to go…the six most difficult questions for consumer brands around ‘zero’ deforestation palm oil by 2020” some of the text should have been attributed to Duncan Pollard at Nestle. It was a genuine mistake on my part, but I should have re-written it even though the exact defined source wasn’t clear to me at the time Anyhow, to correct that mistake here’s Duncan’s views on progress around zero deforestation targets, which I think are well worth re-iterating (and are in the original post above):

Duncan Pollard

“Fantastic progress has been made by companies in the last 10 years, but it is still very variable in terms of proactive action on the ground. So no doubt there is more work to do.

For those who have done most we are getting to the limits of what a supply chain approach can deliver. There is much excitement about jurisdictional approaches, but these have their huge challenges as well, so we need a degree of realism injecting into proceedings.

The influence of European and North American FMCG companies to drive a fundamental change has diminished since 2010. Leave aside the well worn mantra about India and China, the rise of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines as markets for palm oil results in a very different market dynamic.

Linked to the above two points, we are heading for a two tier market with no leverage over the laggards (we may even be there)

NGOs do not seem to have an appetite or strategy for focusing upon companies other than European/N.American ones, which continues to reinforce the two tier market and reduces their (NGO) influence. This will only be reinforced as we get to the point when the leaders have cleaned up their supply chains and can demonstrate 0% deforestation.

The (almost exclusive) focus upon companies in the last 5 years has left a gap in approaches to Governments

There is little coordinated attempt to tackle other forms of deforestation (infrastructure, mining etc), and the role of the finance sector

The focus on “zero”, rather than “zero-net” deforestation is having negative consequences on livelihoods (latest example being in Ivory Coast late last year).

Which makes me ask if it is time for a reset of the thinking on how we as a community view deforestation and what we need to focus upon. This is not an attempt to deflect attention from consumer goods companies, but it is an attempt to ask a legitimate question if we should continue with more of the same, or if the changed circumstances listed above warrant a new emphasis or even direction post 2020. Having this discussion, and aiming to get some consensus would be a meeting worth going to. Armed with this discussion all organisations will be better able to help craft their narrative and strategy up to, through and beyond 2020.”

Here are some of the responses to my original post:

Further comment on progress around zero deforestation targets, by Deborah Lapidus at Mighty Earth

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