Recently, an unprecedented number of companies have established corporate commitments to remove commodity-driven deforestation from their supply chains. As of 2016, hundreds of companies, with a total market value of over EUR 2.5 trillion, have joined the Consumer Goods Forum, which is committed to achieving zero net deforestation in major supply chains by 2020. The action of civil society organisations, increasing consumer awareness and corporate leadership are playing a key role in setting this as a new global business norm.
Recent data indicates, however, that the implementation of such commitments is slower and harder than expected (Rautner et al. 2015). In particular, deforestation-free commodity production is hindered by weak law enforcement, lack of land-use planning and insufficient monitoring (Streck and Lee 2016). Deforestation caused by production of globally-traded commodities, like beef, soy and palm oil, shows no clear sign of diminishing (Kissinger et al. 2012; Hansen et al. 2013).
Mirroring moves in the private sector, governments in both consumer and producer countries have formulated intentions to stop deforestation in major commodity supply chains (New York Declaration on Forests 2014; Amsterdam Declaration 2015). In 2008, the European Union (EU) pledged to at least halve tropical deforestation, compared to 2008 levels, by 2020. In the Amazon region, Brazil aims to eliminate illegal deforestation by 2030, and Colombia to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. More than 45 tropical countries are developing jurisdictional programs to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+).
The intervention of governments, together with action by the private sector and civil society organisations, increases the chances of finding scalable responses to shifting pressures on tropical forests. There is now a global community of influential, private and public, southern and northern actors regularly calling for eliminating deforestation and favoring so-called ‘deforestation-free’ products.
The 2020 targets are only four years ahead. Public and private actors are debating how to mainstream deforestation-free supply chains. While there are significant challenges, there are also new opportunities to facilitate larger-scale implementation of commitments to deforestation-free supply chains. Taking the perspective of governments that wish to support the production and consumption of deforestation-free products, this paper outlines a three-step process for action within jurisdictions .
Steps to scale-up deforestation-free commodity trade
Source: EU REDD Facility