World largest commodities launch global partnership to address deforestation issue

At the World Economic Forum, 20 of the world’s largest commodity producers, traders, manufacturers, consultants and retailers launched a new partnership with research institutions and banks to monitor deforestation and manage sustainability from farm to customer.

About 366 commodities worth US$2.9 trillion have committed to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains, but require better information to make good on their commitments.

In order to do so, the partnership focus on building a global decision-support tool to increase transparency and traceability across supply chains.

Led by the World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch team, the tool will build on the technology and methods developed by WRI on the Global Forest Watch Commodities platform, which currently allows companies to evaluate supply chain risk through high-resolution maps of tree cover loss, near-real-time deforestation and fire alerts, and analysis of individual mills and farms. It will be a fully operational management system.

“Walmart aspires to preserve natural resources through conservation and restoration, working with suppliers, industry forums, nonprofit organizations, farmers and governments through business and philanthropic initiatives,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

“We have committed to sourcing 20 commodities more sustainably and are resolved to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020 in palm, beef, soy and pulp/paper. The development of innovations and technologies like the Global Forest Watch Commodities tool can help us and others achieve such goals.”

The new and improved tool will become the go-to online system to utilize the power of satellite monitoring to track and manage forest-related sustainability performance. Through this new approach, companies will be able to integrate forest monitoring into their core business strategy the same way they track commodity prices or stock markets. The partnership’s vision over the long term is to draw on its members’ wide-ranging expertise to monitor other areas of sustainability, from water stress to labor and human rights issues. Over the next year, the partners will provide input into the design of the new tool and may test it across their supply chains.

Partners include Bunge, Cargill, Carrefour, Conservation International, Daemeter, GIZ – Die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Envol Vert, IOI Group, Mars, Mondelēz International, IDH–The Sustainable Trade Initiative, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC/IDB), FMO–Dutch Development Bank, National Wildlife Federation, Rainforest Alliance, Proforest, The Nature Conservancy, Transitions and Walmart. It will also contribute to achieving the zero-deforestation goals of the World Economic Forum-convened Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, Consumer Goods Forum, Banking Environmental Initiative, and more.

Source: World Resources Institute