Deforestation accounts for 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Every minute, tropical rainforest of the size of 50 football fields is destroyed. Whilst the causes of deforestation are complex, it is generally acknowledged that the biggest drivers are the cultivation of soya and palm oil, 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. Our 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.
Therefore, in 2010, our Board approved a resolution to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. We aim to achieve this through the responsible sourcing of these key commodities – soy, palm oil, paper and pulp and cattle – so that the sourcing of these key commodities will not deplete tropical rainforests. It’s a big ask, and there is much to be done, but through working collectively in partnership with governments and NGOs, the creation of key documents, important stakeholder meetings and through webinars and other materials, change is taking place.
In order to drive implementation of our Deforestation Resolution, we have created a number of working groups, each with a focus on a specific commodity, to help come up with resources and recommendations as well as to organise workshops and webinars.
Knowledge sharing is seen as a critical step in the development of proven solutions, and this collaborative approach has led to the development of tools such as the Activation Toolkit, the sustainable sourcing guidelines series – covering Paper & Pulp, Palm Oil and Soy – and through regular expert-led webinars. We have also produced tools such as the Soy Ladder and Measurement Framework to help members understand where soy appears in their supply chain and how to measure its usage.
We are also active in multi-stakeholder partnerships, such as being a founding partner of the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 and, in 2013, helping launch the Soft Commodities Compact with the Banking Environment Initiative. At a more local level, we also engage in important regional outreach for our commodities of focus.
Aside from the actions being pursued by individual companies on specific commodities, we have taken the lead in building alliances to support the Deforestation Resolution:
TFA 2020 was born out of discussions between the US Government and The Consumer Goods Forum and seeks to deliver solutions on deforestation that spur economic growth and food security. These goals are aligned with the development and climate change priorities of the Indonesian and United States governments, and its Partners now include several key governments and organisations from around the world. It is the largest public-private partnership of its type.
BEI is an initiative that is comprised of global banking institutions stretching across Asia, Europe, the United States and Latin America. Together with our members, the BEI has looked into determining how banks might best align with our deforestation commitment. Its overriding mission is to lead the banking industry in collectively directing capital towards environmentally and socially sustainable economic development.