September 13, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

Last week, saw the launch of the Good Growth Partnership to promote sustainable production of commodities most associated with deforestation (in particular beef, soy, and palm oil). With funding from the Global Environmental Facility (which also funds Supply Change) the United Nations Development Program is leading the implementation of the partnership in collaboration with Conservation International, the International Finance Corporation, UN Environment, the World Wildlife Fund, and the governments of Indonesia, Paraguay, Brazil and Liberia. The initiative aims to raise awareness, reform policy, and strengthen economic incentives around sustainable production in key landscapes known for agricultural productivity and ecological biodiversity. The Program implementers will coordinate efforts on commodity production, demand, and finance to achieve these ends.

The initiative as well as many companies in the industry believe that commercial production of these commodities can be the engine of rural development while benefiting the farmers and agricultural communities from which companies source. For a start, the Supply Change Initiative finds that around 65% of corporate commitments to lower commodity-driven deforestation aim to protect against human rights abuses (e.g., forced labor, slavery, child labor) at the site of commodity production. However, progress is tough—agricultural producers and their buyers have been wracked by periodic exposés around worker exploitation. For instance, at the beginning of this summer the UK retailer Waitrose stopped sourcing corned beef from Brazilian protein producer JBS because of findings linking JBS’s supply to slavery. The Brazilian Government’s monthly release of its “dirty list” of companies caught engaged in slave labor can help commodity buyers like Waitrose meet their human rights aspirations. This government involvement is clearly in the spirit of the Good Growth Partnership, because it demonstrates how national governments can provide disincentives for bad behavior.

It is not just the welfare of farmers that companies think about, but also the indigenous communities living in the areas within and around areas of production. A little over 20% of corporate low/no deforestation commitments tracked by Supply Change include aspirations to respect FPIC. This refers to the right of indigenous groups to give or withhold their free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) for companies to purchase and/or develop lands and resources that they own, occupy, or use (outlined in Article 10 of the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples). Yet many companies have faced challenges with protecting human rights and ensuring FPIC. Indonesia’s National Land Agency alone logged 3,000 land conflicts in 2013 between communities and palm oil companies. A recent report highlights how these problems present serious ongoing risks to investors. Transparent disclosure of land use conflicts is one important step companies must take (see Supply Change Insights in last newsletter for example of how companies can disclose on land use conflicts).

But how can companies best engage with indigenous groups? Taking the time to adequately engage with indigenous groups upfront can save time, resources, reputations, and ultimately lives. The reliance on oral traditions for keeping records and internal management among many indigenous communities can make it difficult for companies to engage with them successfully.

An exciting new tool has emerged which can help address this problem. Indigenous peoples can communally develop “Life Plan” documents, which record and formalize their plans for future territorial governance of their people and land. These documents can serve as a resource to help companies understand 1) if and how communities want to partner with them during the FPIC process and 2) the context of land tenure. Life Plans can help potential external partners to understand indigenous people’s values and culture and to determine what can be sourced and how. Currently, the cosmetics company, Aveda, is using the Life Plan of the Yawanawa tribe in the Amazon as a resource for working with the community to source pigments used in many of its products. Find out more about the value that Life Plans can play at the Climate Week Summit (Upcoming Events).

More stories about changing supply chains are summarized below, so keep reading!

-The Supply Change team



Upcoming Events

Climate Week NYC Official Affiliate Event: “Going ‘All in’ to Address Commodity-Driven Deforestation” + film premiere 
New York, United States, 20th September 2017

In partnership with World Economic Forum's Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 and Consumer Goods Forum, Forest Trends welcomes you to attend the principal convening during CWNYC2017 for everyone who has a stake in the no-deforestation agenda to join together, share insights, build awareness of existing efforts, align on action plans, and strengthen partnerships. In addition to a discussion with leading experts from Forest Trends, TFA2020, Climate Focus, McDonald's, Consumer Goods Forum, The Nature Conservancy, Rainforest Alliance, CDP, WWF, and others, Forest Trends' Communities Initiative will be premiering its short film, "Stewards of the Forest", during the event.


Stewards of the Forest: Video Launch Event at Climate Week

Stay tuned for the release of the full-length video and join us at the launch in Climate Week on September 20.


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

Putting $ where Mars is

Last week, Mars pledged around $1 billion to meet its new sustainability targets. The US-based confectionary giant ramped up its 2050 climate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 40% to 67%. Based on recommendations from the World Resources Institute, a sustainability think tank, Mars set new targets to be based within ecological limits (science-based targets). As part of this effort, Mars is pursuing a range of environmental goals including stabilizing land use change associated with its entire value chain. Mars’ chief executive Grant Reid explains that its new sustainability plan expands the scope of its commitments “to ensure that the planet is healthy and all people in [its] extended supply chains have the opportunity to thrive.”
Read more from


IOI gets a second chance

Unilever—a company renowned for sustainability—has resumed its purchasing agreement with palm oil producer IOI Group. Unilever suspended purchases from IOI in April 2016 after evidence of deforestation on its concessions emerged, and its sustainability certification under the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) was revoked. IOI’s knee jerk reaction to the suspension had been to sue the RSPO, but the firm quickly withdrew the lawsuit and instead chose to buttress its zero deforestation policy. The reinstatement of Unilever as a customer represents a substantial turnaround for IOI. The improvements in IOI’s sustainability policies have been judged favorably; first by the RSPO, which reinstated its certification, and now by Unilever. Yet in a statement the company vowed to “monitor progress to ensure improvements continue.”
Read more from Food Ingredients First


Land use carbon counting

Last month, the international sustainability consultancy, Quantis, released a guidance document to help companies quantify greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from land use and land use change associated with their commodity supply chains. Quantis convened a consortium of over 40 companies, NGOs, and governments to inform 14 key recommendations. These recommendations cover the nature of stocks and flows of carbon associated with land use, attributes of available data, and parameters for accounting impacts. With ambitions to cut GHGs across its entire value chain, General Mills’ Chief Sustainability Officer, Jerry Lynch, suggested that “consistent measurement and guidance” would enable better monitoring of progress. The pilot testing phase of the guidance has now begun, and companies can learn more in an upcoming webinar on September 21st.


Palm zero

The newly released Palm Oil Free Certification Accreditation Program (POFCAP) is the first scheme to certify products as palm oil-free—in contrast with the prevailing palm oil certification, the RSPO, which certifies palm oil in products was sustainably produced. POFCAP developed apparently in response to consumer demand. The jury is out on the reliability of assessing the inclusion of palm oil in products and on the sustainability impacts of going palm oil-free. Palm has the highest yield per hectare of all the other vegetable oils—meaning that a transition to other oils would require more land in order to achieve the same yields. However, palm oil production is highly related to the destruction of orangutan habitats and high carbon stock peatlands.
Read more from Innovation Forum



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.


Danone surfs the WhiteWave to US sustainability

Two Supply Change-listed companies—Danone and Whitewave— have just merged their North American dairy operations to create a new company called DanoneWave. Not only is DanoneWave built around sustainability, but it also has the honor of becoming the largest “benefit corporation” ever. A benefit corporation is a legal designation for US companies, which mandates that companies attain social and environmental benefits in addition to shareholder returns. It is the legal embodiment of the triple bottom line concept. The creation of DanoneWave demonstrates that benefit corporation status is not just for small, disruptive, innovative companies, but can also be scaled up and used by larger, more established giants of industry.
Read more from Fortune

Forest Trends CDP WWF GEF UNEP