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A climate wake-up: but business failing to hear the alarm on deforestation

The urgent need to protect nature and end deforestation was at the centre of plans to deliver on global climate targets at the UN climate conference in Glasgow in 2021. Governments, companies and financial institutions all pledged significant action.

While we have seen commitments like this before, the Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forest and Land Use has the potential to be a turning point. The sheer number of countries and organisations represented, multi-sector buy-in, as well as the recognition of the need to support Indigenous peoples’ rights and leadership are all critical prerequisites for success in protecting the world’s forests.

The Forest 500, now in its eighth year, tracks the policies and performance of the 350 most influential companies and 150 financial institutions linked to deforestation in their supply chains and investments.

The ranking provides vital data on organisations that have made commitments, and highlights the many companies and financial institutions that are still ignoring the issue altogether.

The Glasgow commitments will come under greater scrutiny than any similar commitments that have come before. The more established ecosystem of transparency initiatives, including Forest 500, which were not in place a decade ago will enable more effective monitoring of progress, and it is essential that accountability measures are also quickly put in place to do so.

In the meantime, the latest Forest 500 ranking shows that too many companies are ill prepared for the regulatory changes coming down the track.

Key findings

  • Nearly three out of four (72%) of the 350 companies do not have a deforestation commitment for all of the forest-risk commodities in their supply chains.
  • One-third (117/350) of companies have no deforestation commitments at all – a small decrease on last year.
  • While 28 companies published a new commitment to address deforestation since last year, just 11 of these have a deforestation commitment for all of the commodities they are exposed to.
  • 93 of the 150 financial institutions most exposed to deforestation do not have a deforestation policy covering their investments and lending to companies in key forest-risk commodity supply chains.
  • The 93 financial institutions without deforestation policies provide US$2.6 trillion in finance to the companies with the highest exposure to deforestation risk.

 

Global Canopy calls on:

  • Forest 500 companies and financial institutions to set and implement strong deforestation commitments and policies, covering deforestation, conversion, and associated human rights abuses. Join multi-stakeholder efforts to raise awareness and enable cross sector collaboration.
  • governments to develop and implement legislative frameworks to ensure action across the private sector in your jurisdictions.
  • civil society to track and hold signatories and others accountable, focusing the greatest pressure on those that have not made commitments and are still not acting. In particular, those most influential laggards identified by the Forest 500.
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