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Delivering deforestation-free supply chains

Companies, financial institutions and consumer country governments must work together to deliver deforestation-free supply chains, with a “smart mix” of solutions including legislation

This was the message from the guest speakers on our panel discussion launching the latest Forest 500 assessments on 26 January.

You can watch the full recording of the webinar here.

Barbara Wettstein, Public Affairs Manager: Sustainable Sourcing at Nestlé, admitted that Nestlé did not understand what it was signing up to when it took on zero-deforestation goals in 2010, but said that 10 years on, while Nestlé had made progress, collective action would be a game-changer.

And Johan Verburg who covers Sustainability Policy and Dialogue for Rabobank added that legislation at the EU-level would mean that the rules were the same for everyone, cascading the message to where it would make a difference.

“More people will be brave if they see that others are moving,” he said.

The latest Forest 500 report and assessments show that the most influential companies and financial institutions in forest-risk supply chains have not delivered on the 2020 goal of removing deforestation from supply chains.

The global trade in the key forest-risk commodities of cattle, soy, palm oil, timber and pulp and paper attracts trillions of dollars of finance from banks and investors who do not have policies to address the impacts of their investments on tropical forests.

While some financiers are taking steps to minimise forest impacts, 95 /150 of the most influential financial institutions do not have a deforestation policy.

Global Canopy’s executive director Niki Mardas, speaking at the launch, highlighted that 2021 was an crucial delayed super year for nature, and said:

“The more important recommendation really  is around … the very hopeful signs that due diligence legislation should come in… that is what will move everyone along, including those investors and lenders who are not moving on this themselves.” 

He added that legislation must be strong, covering legal as well as illegal deforestation, include human rights issues and extend to include the financial sector. 

But this legislation will not be implemented immediately, and may not cover all companies and financial institutions involved in forest-risk commodity supply chains. Companies and financial institutions must continue to act, introducing their own commitments and policies on deforestation, especially if they want to be seen as leaders on climate change.

Listen to the full discussion from the webinar here.

See the questions and answers from the session here.