More investment necessary for forest supply chain transparency

30 January 2013

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30 January 2013 | Anna Reynolds

Companies need to invest in their supply chain and understand how it works in order to eliminate deforestation, according to Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD).

The fourth annual FFD Report revealed that 100 companies have voluntarily disclosed their forest footprint – their impact on forests based on their use of five commodities including soy, palm oil, timber and pulp, cattle products and bio fuels - an increase of almost 15 per cent compared to last year.

Speaking at the launch of the report at in London last night, James Hulse, director of FFD, said the biggest challenge is convincing organisations to invest in information-gathering.

“The message is hard to get down the supply chain and companies are finding it difficult to understand all of their suppliers. We are asking them to pay more money to sort out their supply chain – companies don’t want to do this,” he said.

In the FFD report, companies are categorised into 12 sectors and leaders are identified. FFD congratulated companies including Boots, Next, Kingspan Group and Whitbread Group who have made significant improvements on work to reduce their forest footprint. But many companies are trailing behind with an average of 16 per cent difference in scores between the leaders and runners up across all sectors.

Further, two sectors - industrials, construction and autos; and the utilities sector - came under scrutiny, as corporate social responsibility in procurement appeared not to be the norm.

Colgate Palmolive, Danone, Gucci and Heinz were among the organisations disclosing their footprint for the first time.

FFD is in the process of merging with the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and will be fully integrated by February 2014.

Paul Simpson, CEO of the CDP said: “The investment community needs to take a bigger lead by encouraging companies to get involved and report on climate change information.” He added the number of private companies involved in the water and forest supply chain have increased. “This should help us move towards mandatory reporting – the government aren’t doing this for water or forests at the moment.”

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