August 21, 2017
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Forest Trends’ Forest Policy, Trade, and Finance Initiative (FPTF) are pleased to be writing to you as guest contributors to this newsletter. The Supply Change Initiative’s goals of lending transparency and accountability to corporate deforestation-free commitments align closely with the work of EDF and also of FPTF.
When it comes to reducing deforestation, companies and national governments tend to operate in their respective silos. Effectively reducing forest loss, however, will require collaboration between both sets of actors. According to a recently published report, Collaboration Toward Zero Deforestation: Aligning Corporate and National Commitments in Brazil and Indonesia, companies and governments are beginning to work together toward their shared forest conservation goals.
The report—co-authored by Forest Trends’ FPTF and the Environmental Defense Fund—presents case studies that explore the ways in which companies and governments are collaborating, and highlights recommendations for how this collaboration could be strengthened— with implications not only for the two focal countries of Brazil and Indonesia, but for tropical forest countries worldwide. Aligning corporate commitments and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)—official climate action plans submitted by parties of the Paris Agreement—is of critical importance to meeting both private sector and national deforestation reduction and reforestation goals. Corporations need a regulatory and policy environment conducive to their reduced deforestation commitments—which governments can provide; and governments are more likely to achieve their NDC goals with the participation of key corporate actors implementing reduced deforestation and forest landscape restoration corporate policies across their operations.
The good news is that many companies and governments have committed to take action. At present, Supply Change has tracked 471 companies that have made commitments to reduce deforestation in four major agricultural supply chains—cattle, soy, timber & pulp, and palm oil. In parallel to these corporate commitments, government are also making commitments of their own. Eighty percent of the 191 countries that submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have plans to reduce emissions from land-use change as part of their mitigation targets.
In 2014, Brazil and Indonesia together accounted for 38% of global tropical deforestation—with the majority of deforestation in each country driven by commercial agriculture. Fortunately, collaboration between the private sector and governments is beginning to happen in both countries.
For instance, commitments by Brazil’s largest meat packers—JBS, Marfrig, and Minerva—not to source beef from deforested land have contributed to reductions in national emissions, while the implementation of these commitments has been supported by banking regulations and monitoring information supplied by the Brazilian government. Additionally, many of these companies as well as major cattle buyers farther up the supply chain—including Walmart and McDonald’s—are supporting pilot programs aimed at scaling-up sustainable beef production in Brazil.
In Indonesia, a number of large palm oil producers including Asia Pacific Resources International, Asian Agri, Musim Mas, and Wilmar are teaming up to more effectively prevent fires on their concessions, and local governments are beginning to emulate the best of these practices. In Central Kalimantan, major palm oil buyer Unilever is partnering with the provincial government to support its goal of achieving jurisdictional certification for all palm oil produced in the province.
The lessons from emerging public-private partnerships highlighted in the report show that corporate zero deforestation commitments—when buttressed by strong government policies and enhanced by multi-stakeholder partnerships—can help countries reach their goals of reducing deforestation and enhancing forest landscape restoration.
For more details, please view our report or blog, or listen to the Bionic Planet podcast.
- Brian Schaap (Forest Trends) and Breanna Lujan (Environmental Defense Fund)
More stories about changing supply chains are summarized below, so keep reading!
-The Supply Change team