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15 key issues for business tackling deforestation

Does the internet REALLY need another listicle, I hear you ask? Probably not. But readers do click on stuff like this, hence the headline. I think it’s because you know it’s not going to be very long (or deep) and you might have time to get to the end.

My guesswork aside, this listicle (it’s better than that, it is) is based on months of research and years of experience, so I hope has some vague value.

Let me explain. I’ve been through the conference agenda for our upcoming business conference, held with Unilever in Singapore and called: “How business can tackle deforestation: Asia under the lens” on this 27th-28th September.

From that, I’ve pulled out 15 of the key issues companies told us they are working on, and that NGOs and scientists flagged up as salient. Nothing particularly earth-shattering here but I thought it may be useful to list them below.

Here’s a podcast (10 mins long) taped a couple of days ago with Brendan May, founder of Robertsbridge, on four of the below areas (Policy into performance, verification, landscape approaches and labour and human rights)

Right, here’s the list of top issues:

1. Policy into performance – are companies delivering?

2. Government engagement – The end of IPOP and lessons learned

3. Land rights, palm oil, timber, rubber and other commodities

4. High Carbon Stock / High Conservation Value methodologies, where are we?

5. Verification and auditing, limitations and the capacity gap

6. What investors want on deforestation

7. Traceability and technology

8. Collaboration and smallholder engagement

9. Rubber and deforestation

10. Landscape approaches

11. Labour conditions in plantations

12. Business and building capacity for enforcement in jurisdictions, where are we?

13. Supplier selection, education and risk

14. Peatland restoration. What progress, and how realistic?

15. Government moratoria: Worth the paper they are printed on?

More details on the conference here: How business can tackle deforestation: Asia under the lens – 27th-28th September – Singapore

And here’s just the latest report on how important all this stuff is.

If you would like to discuss further being involved as a speaker, sponsor, media partner or delegate. Please email:

Lea Vavrik
Innovation Forum
+44 (0) 203 780 7435 


  1. While I’m delighted to see that REDD didn’t make it on to your listicle, there is (at least) one glaring omission: the rights of indigenous peoples.

    Perhaps, given the record of business in successfully deforesting vast areas of Asia, a better title for the conference might be: How foxes can look after the henhouse.

    • Comment by post author

      Toby Webb

      Thanks Chris. Titles aside, the indigenous peoples area, whilst not explicit here (and it should have been so thank for pointing that out) will be covered under a number of areas at the conference. Land rights for example. We’ve been trying to convene a number of sessions around indigenous peoples in general and human rights, labour issues generally, but not been able to find the speakers as yet. In the past we have been able to do that but this year it’s been a real struggle. Any ideas?