Cargill has trained 148,000 farmers globally in sustainable land use, including cocoa growers in the Ivory Coast ©Palani Chandra Mohan/Cargill Inc.
Cargill has trained 148,000 farmers globally in sustainable land use, including cocoa growers in the Ivory Coast ©Palani Chandra Mohan/Cargill Inc.

Agri giant tackles supply chain deforestation

19 January 2017

One of the world’s largest privately-owned corporations has taken steps to tackle deforestation in its supply chains.

Agricultural giant Cargill has identified six priority supply chains, engaged with more than 148,000 farmers, and mapped tree cover loss in nearly 2,000 sourcing locations across 14 countries, the firm’s first report on forests said.

“Ending deforestation is critical to curb climate change,” said Cargill CEO and chairman David MacLennan. “Today, we are at an important crossroads as we work to nourish the world and protect the planet. Sustainable agriculture must be a part of the solution.”

Cargill’s priority supply chains include palm oil and cocoa globally, soy in Brazil and Paraguay, cotton and maize in Zambia, and fibre-based packaging. The firm, whose revenues totalled $107.2bn in 2016, has issued a new policy on sustainable fibre-based packaging to protect forests in those supply chains.

Sustainable land use programmes and training have reached more that 148,000 farmers, including 15,000 small and large-scale soy farmers in Brazil, 21,000 palm oil smallholders in Indonesia, 1,000 soy farmers in Paraguay and 90,000 cocoa farmers and cooperatives in West Africa.

The tree cover mapping, done in partnership with World Resources Institute and Global Forest Watch, covered nearly 2,000 sourcing locations across Cargill's global footprint, encompassing 166m hectares, of which 119m were tree cover.

Its analysis recorded around 1.7m hectares (1.4%) of tree cover loss in 2014 in these areas. However, it said this might not be directly related to Cargill’s sourcing activity, but due to land use change in the vicinity of the areas.

“The next step will be to identify how Cargill’s operations relate to the sources contributing to tree cover loss and develop solutions to protect those forest areas,” said the report.

The report also said Cargill soy contracts in Brazil now require farms to comply with the Brazilian Forest Code and Brazilian Forest Code and the Rural Environmental Registry.

“We realise the private sector can lead in making agriculture and supply chains more sustainable,” said Cargill global leader of business operations and supply chain Ruth Kimmelshue. “But we can’t do it alone. We want to work with customers, governments, NGOs and others to apply scalable approaches and deploy technology and practices that will give farmers the tools they need to create a more food-secure world.”

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