The Forum Board Statement on Climate Change

A ‘call for action’ in the run up to the UN Paris Climate Summit in 2015

We, the Board of Directors of The Consumer Goods Forum, reaffirm our commitment to taking action in recognition of the serious risks that climate change poses for our businesses, our supply chains and our consumers. 
In 2010, the CGF Board committed to mobilising resources within our respective businesses to address two aspects of climate change:
  • To help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020 through sustainable sourcing of key commodities; and
  • To begin phasing-out HFC refrigerants as of 2015 and replacing them with non-HFC refrigerants (natural refrigerant alternatives).
In doing this, 
  • We reaffirm our commitment to these actions, and acknowledge the vital need to work in partnership with governments and civil society to transform markets at scale. Working with the Tropical Forest Alliance, the Banking Environment Initiative and others, we believe that further engagement of supply chain partners, including commodity traders and financiers, can help accelerate progress.  
  • We are committed to play a constructive role in the UN Secretary General’s Summit on Climate Change in September of this year. 
  • We are also committed to address and reduce further important contributors to GHG emissions like Food Waste.
  • We embrace our unique role as the Consumer Goods Industry in enabling and empowering consumers - through innovation, communication and partnership - to make sustainable changes in their purchasing and in their lives.
The urgency of this action is underpinned by the science, which is clearer than it has ever been. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that climate change is unequivocal and that limiting anthropogenic climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
 
In the run up to the UN Paris Climate Summit in 2015, we invite heads of state to engage and act with determination, leadership and ambition to secure an ambitious and legally binding global climate deal.  
 
We urge governments to make United Nations REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation)[1] a priority for supporting appropriate local and national policies that protect forests and support livelihoods. We also hope that early progress on phasing down HFCs can be accelerated through the Montreal Protocol, as we believe that viable alternatives to HFCs are within reach today.  
 

Background

Helping Achieve Zero-net Deforestation
 
Deforestation accounts for approximately 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions, a larger net impact than the entire transport sector globally. The biggest drivers for deforestation are the cultivation of soya, oil palm, logging for the production of paper and board and the rearing of cattle. All of these commodities are major ingredients in the supply chains of most consumer goods companies. The CGF member companies drive the demand for these commodities and have an opportunity to ensure that the sourcing of these ingredients does not contribute to deforestation.
 
The CGF Resolution:
As the Board of The Consumer Goods Forum, we pledge to mobilise resources within our respective businesses to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020.
 
We will achieve this both by individual company initiatives and by working collectively in partnership with governments and NGOs. Together we will develop specific, time bound and cost effective action plans for the different challenges in sourcing commodities like palm oil, soy, beef, paper and board in a sustainable fashion.
 
We will also work with other stakeholders – NGOs, Development Banks, Governments etc. – to create funding mechanisms and other practical schemes that will incentivise and assist forested countries to conserve their natural assets and enable them to achieve the goal of zero net deforestation, whilst at the same time meeting their goals for economic development”.
 
Phasing out HFCs
Refrigeration is a significant and growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. The dominant technology - hydro fluorocarbons (HFC) - is 1400 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. HFC’s represent 1.5% of total warming potential today and are expected to increase to 6-9% of total GHG by 2050 unless action is taken. HCFCs and HFCs are fluorinated gases (F-gases) and are widely used in the consumer goods sector, in items such as beverage coolers, vending machines, ice cream freezers, open deck coolers and freezers used in supermarkets. 
 
The CGF Resolution:
As the Board of The Consumer Goods Forum, we recognise the major and increasing contribution to total greenhouse gas emissions of HFCs and derivative chemical refrigerants.
 
We are therefore taking action to mobilise resources within our respective businesses to begin phasing-out HFC refrigerants as of 2015 and replace them with non-HFC refrigerants (natural refrigerant alternatives) where these are legally allowed and available for new purchases of point-of-sale units and large refrigeration installations.
 
We recognise that barriers exist to wide scale adoption of more climate-friendly refrigeration, namely legislative restrictions in some markets, availability, cost, safety, maintenance and servicing. We will work to overcome those barriers by strengthening existing collaborative platforms and initiatives. We also will use our collective influence to encourage our supply base to develop natural refrigerants technologies that meet our business demand under commercially viable conditions.”
 

[1] Policies that provide economic incentives to increase agricultural productivity whilst avoiding forest encroachment will be needed. International climate policy provides a particularly good opportunity for donor countries to provide strong economic incentives to reduce deforestation. Through the UN’s REDD+programme, forested countries, states or provinces can receive results-based payments for sustainable forest management. Countries including the UK, US and Norway have already committed funds to suchprogrammesand similar commitments are being encouraged from other countries that are consumers of forest-risk commodities in the run-up to the UNSG’s ClimateLeaders’ Summit in September.