The Forest Trust (TFT) says brands sourcing commodities from rainforest regions should finance efforts to preserve the environment.
Speaking to SM, Bastien Sachet, CEO of TFT, said TFT was looking at developing “conservation funds”, which companies and governments would contribute towards, that would be used to promote clean air and biodiversity.
“If the world wants Indonesia and Brazil to keep their forests, the world needs to pay for it. Clean air and biodiversity are services to the world,” said Sachet.
“We think brands could finance it and governments as well. We feel there is an urgent need to move in that direction.”
Sachet told SM he did not agree with supermarket Iceland’s decision to phase out palm oil from its own-brand products.
“Rather than cut yourself off from the problem, why don’t you use your financial power to invest and make sure where your palm oil is coming from, you are supporting producers to conserve the forest?” he said.
“At the end of the day Iceland is having a footprint on the world and what it needs to do is manage that footprint.”
Sachet said he feared other companies would follow Iceland’s lead. “I feel the debate around palm oil is becoming irrational. I think there is a risk many people follow Iceland and that will mean more damage for the forests.
“We would like to see palm oil producers manage land to produce biodiversity, clean air and palm oil.”
He went on: “Let’s not make palm oil the scapegoat for every problem on the planet. Deforestation will still continue. Deforestation is not being driven by 500 tonnes from Iceland [the amount Iceland says it uses in its own-brand products]. Those drivers are growth of the world population and growing demand for food and vegetable oils.
“Our philosophy is to push brands. Transparency is the first step, but what do you do with that transparency? How do you find financial incentives to preserve those forests?”
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