August 21, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

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.

Collaboration Toward Zero Deforestation

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




Upcoming Events


Innovation Forum: How business can tackle deforestation
Jakarta, Indonesia, 17th-18th October 2017

This two-day, multi-stakeholder conference presents an excellent opportunity to hear from leading experts and practitioners on how businesses are progressing with anti-deforestation and forest preservation agendas. Already confirmed to attend are senior figures from APRIL, Golden Agri-Resources, IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative, Neste, Nestle, Sime Darby, Sustainable Agriculture Network, TFA 2020, USAID, and many more.

Register here and get a 15% discount using the SC15 code or get in touch with Innovation Forum directly –


Innovation Forum: How business can tackle deforestation
London, United Kingdom, 14th-15th November 2017

As part of a global series of meetings, Innovation Forum has put together a London conference that looks to discuss the key methodologies, technologies and industry examples for implementing companies’ zero deforestation policies. Already confirmed to attend are senior figures from Bunge, Olam, BNP Paribas, ABN AMRO, RSPO, IOI Loders Croklaan, Marks and Spencer, Oxfam, Mighty Earth, HCV Resource Network, and many more.

Register here and get a 15% discount using the SC15 code or get in touch with Innovation Forum directly –



Recent News

The beef stops here

New research by the nonprofit, Imazon, suggests that 93% of the cattle raised in the Brazilian Amazon is processed by slaughterhouses owned by 99 companies such as JBS and Marfrig. The authors concluded that the areas supplying cattle to the 128 slaughterhouses owned by the companies were where most of the deforestation in the Amazon had occurred (from 2011 to 2015) and would continue to occur unless deforestation rates change. Forecasting the areas with the highest deforestation risk was made possible by analyzing a number of factors including the processing capacity and probable extent of sourcing area for each slaughterhouse. Ultimately, the best way for halting ranching-related deforestation is for government to work with slaughterhouses on deforestation surveillance, says lead author Paulo Barreto to Mongabay.


Will it hold up in court?

In June, the Belgian National Court ruled that the Dutch retail chain Ahold Delhaize violated the European Union’s Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD) when it declared its palm-oil free “Choco” spread to be de facto more environmentally friendly than comparable products containing palm oil made by the Italian confectionery giant Ferrero. The court’s decision sends a strong message: companies need to be careful not to misrepresent their achievements in reducing deforestation in their supply chains because they could get dragged into court or face other state-sanctioned penalties. Companies can and have suspended sizeable purchasing contracts from non-compliant suppliers as a way to uphold their voluntary commitments, which could mitigate potential legal risks from the UCPD.
Read more at Chain Reaction Research


Making SDGs their business

A growing number of companies are recognizing the inherent linkages between their own corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Linking their CSR efforts to the SDG framework opens new opportunities to “communicate credible impacts and allows businesses to receive the recognition they deserve,” suggests Marion Verles, CEO of the certification body Gold Standard. This integrated reporting approach can help investors looking to support the SDGs find companies which demonstrate how their activities further these goals. At Supply Change, we’ve counted at least 15 companies so far, which link their commitments directly to the SDGs (see example below). In particular, companies are pursuing goals on: sustainable production and consumption (12), climate action (13), and life on land (15).
Read more from The Ecosystem Marketplace



Monthly Insights from the Supply Change Desk

Each month, the Supply Change team reviews hundreds of corporate commitments to reduce deforestation in commodity supply chains. Monthly Insights shines a spotlight on companies that deserve recognition for their diligence or innovation at crafting, implementing, or reporting upon their commitments.


Airing dirty laundry

Agricultural and forestry companies can be tempted not to report on their handling of disputes with local communities over the land which companies own and/or manage. Not so for Mondi. This pulp and paper company reports on the cumulative number of community claims contesting land ownership that are filed and settled. Their sustainability report includes details on their grievance process and how much land has been returned to the communities. In fact, the company is piloting a Social Capital Protocol developed by the World Business Council as a means of further refining its metrics. This is one of a growing number of companies tracked by Supply Change which explicitly explains how its commitments and actions contribute to the SDGs.
Read more on Mondi’s profile

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