Increasingly, consumer goods companies are committing to eliminating deforestation from their supply chains. The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a platform bringing together some 400 consumer goods manufacturers and retailers from around the world, has pledged to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020.

092017 HCV deforestation imageBy implementing no deforestation policies, CGF members can reduce reputational risks associated with unsustainable practices and enhance their standing as sustainable companies. Members can also improve security of supply by ensuring access to markets that source deforestation-free products. But how can these policies be implemented in practice? In order to address this, The CGF developed guidelines for sourcing for sourcing high-demand commodities such as palm oil and soy in a sustainable way. The guidelines highlight the central role of the High Conservation Value approach and the High Carbon Stock approach in identifying and protecting values and forests of social and natural significance.

High Conservation Values (HCV) are significant biological, ecological, social and cultural features of our environment, such as endangered species, river banks or archaeological sites. The HCV approach is a three-step process in which HCVs are identified, managed and monitored to ensure their maintenance over time. The High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) is a methodology that distinguishes degraded lands from forests with high carbon and biodiversity values. Both approaches can be used by companies seeking to develop land for agricultural production in a sustainable way. Companies committed to employing both approaches can carry out integrated HCV-HCS assessments which allow simultaneous identification of HCVs and HCS forests. As a result of an integrated assessment, areas containing HCVs and/or HCS forests can be identified and assigned for conservation, while areas without HCVs and/or HCS forests may be developed safely.

What does all of this mean for CGF members?

CGF members are able to adopt the HCV and HCS approaches through their procurement policies. The HCV approach is required by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Rainforest Alliance. The application of the HCS approach is currently not a mandatory requirement of voluntary certification schemes. However, companies seeking to integrate the HCS approach into their supply chains can source commodities from members of the HCSA Steering Group. By sourcing forest-risk commodities like cattle products, palm oil, pulp and paper, soy and timber from producers that use the HCV and HCS approaches, CGF members are taking an important step towards the elimination of deforestation from their supply chains.

The HCV Resource Network hosted a webinar for CGF members, showcasing how the HCV and HCS approaches can be implemented and how this can help to achieve no-deforestation commitments. To access to the webinar, click here. For more information please contact us at

092017 HCV Contributors

Marius von Essen (left)
Standards Manager

Ana Sofía Lorda (right)
Assistant Project Manager

HCV Resource Network