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The companies ignoring the human cost of deforestation

'The companies ignoring the human cost of deforestation' looks at how the most influential companies in forest-risk supply chains perform on human rights. We look in particular at whether companies are committed to ensuring the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) of communities - and whether the company commits to refrain from land acquisition and development in the case of land conflict. 

Executive Summary

  • Forest-risk commodity production is often preceded or accompanied by human rights abuses, particularly when it comes to labour rights, Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), and land use conflict.
  • Any effective approach on deforestation must include comprehensive action on human rights

Indigenous peoples and local communities have been shown to be the best protectors of tropical forests, and their rights must be respected if tropical deforestation is to be halted;

Companies need to ensure they are not responsible for, or complicit in, human rights abuses in their supply chains.

  • Our Forest 500 assessments have found that too few companies are setting comprehensive commitments to address the human rights abuses associated with deforestation, with even fewer taking steps to implement them on the ground

More than a third of Forest 500 companies do not have commitments on human rights for any of the commodities they are assessed for;

Just one company had a commitment for all human rights indicators for all of the commodities they were assessed for.

  • Companies in beef and leather supply chains are known to be lagging behind on deforestation, but Forest 500 has found they’re also lagging behind on action on associated human rights, particularly FPIC and land use conflict.
  • Even those companies with commitments are failing to implement them effectively

Half of companies with a commitment on labour rights or FPIC for at least one commodity did not monitor their own operations and supply chains for compliance with all of their commitments.

  • Companies need to set and implement strong commitments on human rights, with financial institutions and governments having a vital enabling role to play.