The World Economic Forum-hosted Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 is advocating a 10-point plan to remove deforestation from commodity supply chains by 2020. Aimed at company executives, policy-makers and civil society leaders, the Commodities and Forests Agenda 2020 plan lays out strategies to address one of the biggest drivers of pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss.

The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) is a partnership of over 100 governments, companies, NGOs, experts and indigenous groups committed to reducing the tropical deforestation behind palm oil, soy, beef, and pulp and paper.

Since 1990 the world has lost the equivalent of 1,000 football fields of forests every hour, according to World Bank development indicators. That is 1.3 million square kilometres of forest – an area larger than South Africa. Despite ambitious commitments to stop it, satellite data shows that forest loss has increased in recent years and many of the solutions have yet to be scaled.

The 10-point plan was prepared through consultation with over 250 experts in private organizations, governments, indigenous peoples and civil society groups. The 10 priorities for action are:

1.Eliminating illegality from supply chains: businesses can and should support government law enforcement by improving the way in which legal compliance is monitored in their own supply chains.

2.Growing and strengthening palm oil certification: Consumer countries and companies should commit to buying through strong palm oil certification programmes such as the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil.

3.Scaling up sustainable intensification of cattle grazing: businesses and governments need to drive out illegal forest clearance and redirect incentives away low-yielding beef production.

4.Sustainably increasing smallholder yields in palm oil and cocoa: Investment barriers that prevent best practices must be removed, while greater risk management and training can help to boost yields at smallholder plantations.

5.Achieving sustainable soy production: Global demand is rising and production is expanding, causing major deforestation. Collaborative initiatives supported by companies, civil society and governments can help to ensure that production occurs without further landscape conversion. The 2006 Soy Moratorium in the Amazon has shown that, with improved forest governance and public-private initiatives, reduction in deforestation from soy expansion is possible.

6 Accelerating jurisdictional programmes: advanced climate and forest programmes that integrate land planning, sustainable forest management and commodity production are models for rural development in other countries and regions. More private-sector commodity commitments can be incorporated into government-led programmes.

7 Addressing land conflicts, tenure security and land rights: Assigning formal land titles is particularly relevant for areas traditionally occupied by indigenous peoples. It is essential to accelerate land registration efforts and put in place effective and fair conflict resolution mechanisms for competing land claims.

8 Mobilizing demand for deforestation-free commodities in emerging markets: China and India are among the world’s biggest importers of soy, pulp and paper and palm oil. China alone is a huge importer of beef. Businesses and governments along these supply chains must work towards sustainable sourcing.

9 Redirecting finance towards deforestation-free supply chains: Shifting to deforestation-free agricultural investment presents a $200 billion annual opportunity by 2020, while mitigating reputational and stranded asset risks. Risk management policies and subsidy reform – especially in agricultural credit – are needed.

10 Improving the quality and availability of deforestation and supply chain data: More data must be collected and shared so that governments and companies can target and monitor their activities effectively.

Marco Albani, Director of TFA2020, said that by singling out 10 priority areas, the Commodities and Forest Agenda 2020 opens a dialogue to accelerate progress towards the 2020 goal of eliminating commodity-driven deforestation by 2020 through increased focus and collaboration: “The 10 areas are not exhaustive – there are many other areas where action is needed, and individual stakeholders will have different geographical or commodity priorities – but they represent a triage of priorities for the short window to 2020 as it emerged from our analysis and extensive consultation.”

The TFA was founded in 2012 at Rio+20 after retailers, manufacturers, service providers and other stakeholders at the Consumer Goods Forum committed to zero net deforestation by the year 2020.

Kavita Prakash Mani, Practice Leader, Markets & Foods, World Wildlife Fund, and Jeff Seabright, Chief Sustainability Officer, Unilever, a major buyer of palm oil and Co-Chair of the Consumer Goods Forum Environmental Sustainability Committee said in a joint statement:

“Commitments are in place, and much process has been made, but it is clear that that we must intensify and accelerate those efforts if we are to have any chance of meeting our 2020 goal. The Commodities and Forests Agenda 2020 provides a roadmap to encourage everyone with a stake in commodity-driven deforestation to align as a community of action so that we can accelerate our efforts together."

The Commodities and Forests Agenda 2020 is part of the ongoing efforts of the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 as a global and regional platform for accelerating high impact partnership to halt deforestation across commodity supply chains in the potential to deliver economic benefits to tropical forest countries, while address environmental and social constraints.

The TFA 2020 is hosted by the World Economic Forum and funded by the Governments of the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom.

The World Economic Forum is convening its first Sustainable Development Impact Summit in New York on 18-19 September 2017. The Summit is dedicated to accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement through public-private cooperation and the application of technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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