Removing deforestation from supply chains makes business sense, says new report

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24 September 2015

NEW YORK: One year after the New York Declaration on Forests, the Supply Change project has presented a report looking at the progress made, during an event at Climate Week NYC.

Presenting the report "Firm Commitments - Tracking Company Endorsers of the New York Declaration on ForestsStephen Donofrioadvisor for the Supply Change project at the Forest Trends Association said: “Data, transparence and accountability are fundamental issues for the supply chain. In just a couple of months, with our project we have profiled more than 250 companies. And 92% of the tracked endorsing companies have issued their own forest sustainability targets.” 

The report details that 9 out of 10 endorsers address palm oil risk, while actions to address other sectors lag – especially in the soy market. However, “65% of the endorsers explicitly address zero net policy, which is 60% more than for the non-endorsers,” Donofrio added.

He also reiterated the importance of internal company milestones to address deforestation, because often there is no verification process. “How do you know how companies are situated on this issue? This is why disclosure is so important,” he said.

Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business for Marks and Spencer, detailed his company’s ambitious target on deforestation. “We have about 800 products that use palm oil. It is a big effort,” he said. And on the reason why M&S joined this challenge, he remarked: “Business sector has an important role in it. It must say to the governments ‘we are here’”.

“We want to remove commodity-driven deforestation from all supply chains by 2020. There is a business case for addressing this issue. It is here, and it is present,” added Sara Law, VP Global Initiatives at CDP.

And speaking on the role of the companies in tackling climate change, “Business was the 'missing sector' in this fight,” said Peter Graham, Forest and Climate Program Leader at WWF. “Now, business is accelerating the transition towards a cleaner world.”

Governments are playing their role too, increasingly implementing policies on reducing deforestation. Initiatives such the Supply Change report highlight how transparency is crucial to further accelerate this transition, “but we are missing recognition of accountability,” Peter Graham added, “along with the business case of reducing deforestation. But we need to work with governments to have public policies that sustain these companies”.

Remembering the drive that one year ago led to the New York Declaration, he said it was pushed by the will to “create a joint momentum around forest agenda for public and private. But deforestation is also part of a sustainable development goal: “There is a long-term win in managing the resources in a sustainable way, especially for the poorest,” he concluded.

Eduardo Goncalves, International Communications Director, The Climate Group, said: ““Forestry is a key part of the climate discussion. We’re not going to be able to tackle the key challenges of climate change if we don’t get a grip on deforestation. And we need to do it in a way that really engages with the business community, and that uses this framework of reporting and transparency proposed here.

#CWNYC 2015

Climate Week NYC is a key event in the international calendar that brings together leading governments, investors, businesses, innovators and opinion formers. The Climate Group launched Climate Week NYC in 2009, and has acted as the secretariat since its inception.

Host to more than 100 affiliate events from September 21-28, Climate Week NYC 2015 is the collaborative space for climate events in support of the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Climate Week NYC 2015 is supported by BT Group, Siemens, Procter & Gamble, Nike, SkyPower, SolarCity, CBRE Group, and Bank of the West - BNP Paribas; and the We Mean Business coalition members: BSR, The B Team, CDP, Ceres, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and WBCSD. | @ClimateWeekNYC | #CWNYC

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