Speak soft commodities and carry a big money stick
The number of banks signed onto the Soft Commodities Compact has risen to 101 with the addition of Standard Charter and now covers 20% of the global agricultural commodity market. The Compact, which aims to mobilize the banking sector in transforming agricultural commodity, also known as soft commodity, supply chains towards zero net deforestation activities, was released in 2014. The authors of the compact - the Consumer Goods Forum and the Banking Environment Initiative, with input from the World Wildlife Fund - agree to finance the growth of sustainable soft commodity producers, as well as put pressure on clients to source from sustainable producers.
Read more at RTCC
I can't believe it's not conservation-grade butter!
A new study has found that consumers may be willing to pay 15% to 56% more for consumer goods that contain "conservation-grade" palm oil over goods that contain conventional palm oil. Researchers surveyed customers buying margarine at UK supermarkets to calculate the price premium. They then used this number to look at the cost-effectiveness of conservation in Asia and found that smart certification could incentivize palm producers to conserve more land - to a point. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Quick on the withdrawal
Bunge, an international agricultural trader, has suspended activity with BLD Plantation Bhd over reports that the palm oil company is planning to develop 14,000 hectares of peatlands on the island of Borneo. The statement came just one day after a formal grievance from campaigners Forest Heroes. The clearance could result in the release of approximately 37 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and contradicts Bunge's commitment to eliminate deforestation and peatland development from its palm oil supply chain.
Read more at Mongabay
Grievance from Forest Heroes
Good for our hearts, bad for our forests
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced recently that it will require food manufacturers to eliminate trans fats by 2018 - a move that the agency expects will prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks each year. The new rule is likely to increase demand for palm oil, a common substitute for trans fats that can contribute to tropical deforestation. Many food manufacturers and retailers have already phased out trans fats from their products, contributing to a surge in palm oil consumption over the last decade. Between 2002 and 2012, U.S. imports of palm oil increased by 352%.
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Putting soy on the map
The Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) launched an online mapping system to identify High Conservation Value Areas in regions where soy cannot be produced, with the goal of keeping forests safe from the "agricultural frontier." The mapping system is already available in Paraguay and Brazil and will be considered for Argentina. The maps are used in conjunction with the Guides for Responsible Expansion of Soy, which pre-assess the risks of expanding soy production to forests and other ecosystems. RTRS stakeholders are working towards a target of getting 10 million tonnes of responsible soy on the market by 2017, up from 1.3 million tonnes today.
Read more from RTRS