Climate Week NYC 2015 is officially underway. The annual assembly brings together influential global figures - and new voices - from the worlds of business, government and society who are leading the low carbon transition. The event runs through September 28, with more than 150 events scattered across New York and a Friday visit from Pope Francis.
Announced at the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, parallel to last year’s Climate Week NYC, 180 governments, companies, indigenous community networks, and civil society organizations signaled their commitment to ending deforestation by endorsing the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF). The Declaration committed to halving deforestation by 2020, and eliminating it by 2030, with the private sector endorsers signing on to make their supply chains deforestation-free.
How far have those companies come in a year?
In the first-ever assessment of company endorsers’ progress towards the Declaration’s goals, Supply Change project’s latest report, Firm Commitments: Tracking Company Endorsers of the New York Declaration on Forests, provides insights into where Declaration endorsing companies stand in tackling the challenges of deforestation-free palm oil, soy, timber and pulp, and cattle supply chains. The report answers important questions like: How have companies taken action to meet these targets – after or even before their endorsement of Declaration goals? What are the profiles, commonalities and resources of company endorsers? How many companies are publicly disclosing their progress and what can these early disclosures tell decision-makers about the private sector’s information gaps and implementation needs?
For those of you attending Climate Week NYC 2015 in New York, please join us for two complimentary report launch events exploring the findings and implications of this assessment. The first will be hosted at Hunton & Williams LLC at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, September 23rd), with speakers from The Climate Group, World Economic Forum, Marks & Spencer, WWF, CDP, the Climate and Land Use Alliance, and Forest Trends. The second will be hosted at the Rainforest Alliance Headquarters at 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 24th, with speakers from Rainforest Alliance, CDP, and Forest Trends.
In March 2015, the web platform Supply-Change.Org opened in beta. The tool has been a valuable resource in providing up-to-date, real time data and information on private sector commitments to supply chain sustainability. Now just 6 months later, it has grown to nearly 300 public profiles and is ready to leave beta behind. The project will continue to add profiles, update data, and enhance the site by exploring new metrics and new markets. If your company isn’t profiled, or you’d like to add data to an existing profile, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re looking for some reading on your flight, train, or bus to New York, more stories on sustainable agricultural commodities are summarized below, so keep reading!
-The Supply Change team
Jurisdictional approach in the cards for RSPO
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is working with subnational governments to develop a jurisdictional approach to palm oil certification. Instead of the individual plantation- or mill-based approach that is currently used, the new approach would certify an entire jurisdiction. The approach may help smallholders – who make up a large portion of production – navigate the complex and costly certification process. Sabah, a state in Malaysia which produces 12 percent of the world’s palm oil, has pledged that all of its palm oil production will be RSPO-certified by 2025 and is working with RSPO on a jurisdictional approach. Central Kalimantan is also exploring a jurisdictional approach.
Read more from Reuters
Palm oil pledge has surprising opponents
Government officials in Indonesia came out against the Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge, saying it infringed on Indonesian sovereignty and would negatively impact economic development. The pledge, which committed some of the largest global palm oil players to produce and procure sustainable palm oil, was signed in September 2014 by the CEOs of Asian Agri, Cargill, Golden Agri Resources and Wilmar, and joined by Musim Mas in 2015. Together the companies account for 80% of the country’s palm oil production. The pledge bans clearing of old-growth primary and regenerating secondary forests, which could restrict the economic viability of new palm oil licenses in the palm oil frontiers of Papua and West Papua, where much of the forest is of those two types.
Read more from The Jakarta Post
Long limbed wood
A new report from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) found that 8% of total global wood production was under FSC certification. That number jumps to 16% when compared only to total industrial roundwood production (and leaves out fuelwood production, which is rarely FSC-certified). FSC looked to its database of 1,250 forest management certificates - covering an area of about 183 million hectares - to estimate the volume of annually harvested FSC-certified timber worldwide.
Read more here.
Give yourself a pat on the back: global deforestation has slowed
A new United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization study reports that global deforestation has slowed over the past 25 years, but that an area of 129 million hectares has been lost over that period. The report also noted the importance of the forestry sector to the global economy, which contributes about $600 billion annually to global GDP and provides employment to over 50 million people.
Read more from the UN
Sustainable wood, aisle 12
Asda, Sainsburys, Tesco and Morrisons as well as Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, which together account for more than 70% of the United Kingdom’s grocery market, have signed up for WWF’s Save Forests campaign. The campaign works to stop illegally sourced wood from around existing regulation and being sold legally in the UK. The companies pledge to ensure that all timber and wood-based products will be sustainably-sourced by 2020.
Read more from Edie
Big box is getting out of big (palm) oil
Costco and Target, two large international retailers, recently made commitments to source sustainable palm oil for their own brand products. Target set a date of 2018 to achieve their commitment, while Costco will aim for 2021. Both companies made commitments to sustainability criteria such as no conversion of high conservation value or high carbon stock areas, traceability, and respecting human rights and labor laws, as well as no destruction of peatland.
Read more at Mongabay
Raising to meet the challenge
Grupo Bimbo, the Mexico-based food manufacturer, updated its policy to increase stringency and demand suppliers comply with the announcement of a new time bound action plan. The policy calls for zero deforestation and protection of peatlands, as well as traceability to the mill. The full action plan is to be published by the end of 2015.
Grupo Bimbo's policy
Walking the walk
Cargill, in order to satisfy the demands of its commitment as a signatory of the New York Declaration on Forests, announced a new policy that would remove deforestation from its supply chain by 2030. It made specific commitments to eliminate unsustainable palm oil and soy by 2020, but also to cotton and maize and other commodities by 2030.
Read more at Mongabay
Campaigns aren't just for elections
Astra Agro Lestari, Indonesia’s second largest palm oil producer, committed to making its plantations sustainable with a focus on no deforestion, conservation of peatlands, and repect for human rights. The action was largely in response to a campaign from Forest Heroes, which the organization now says it has ended. The company controls nearly 300,000 hectares of developed plantations and even more undeveloped forests.
Read more from Treehugger
Astra Agro Lestari Policy