The area planted with soya in Brazil has increased by 45% since 2010 © AFP/Getty Images
The area planted with soya in Brazil has increased by 45% since 2010 © AFP/Getty Images

Onus on firms to show supply chains free of deforestation

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
13 June 2019

Companies unable or unwilling to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains must “avoid high-risk commodities entirely”, according to Greenpeace.

In a report the campaign group said a survey of 50 retailers, producers and traders showed none were able to demonstrate “meaningful effort” to tackle the issue concerning suppliers of cattle, cocoa, dairy, palm oil, and pulp and paper.

The report said agricultural production caused around 80% of deforestation and animal livestock and feed was responsible for 60% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenpeace said its analysis showed that by the start of 2020 around 50m hectares of forest was likely to have been destroyed for commodity production.

“The onus is on brands that use high-risk commodities like beef, palm oil and soya to demonstrate that their supply chains are free from deforestation,” said Greenpeace.

“Brands must also slash their use of meat and dairy, leading to a more than 70% reduction in per capita consumption in high-consuming areas such as North America and Europe by 2030. This means replacing industrially produced milk, pork, beef and poultry products with healthy and affordable plant-based foods.

“We are experiencing a climate and ecological emergency. Companies that are unwilling or unable to do what is needed to fix the global commodity trade and keep forest destroyers out of their supply chains must instead avoid high-risk commodities entirely.”

The report said since 2010, when deforestation commitments were made by consumer goods firms at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, the area planted with soya in Brazil has increased by 45%. Indonesian palm oil production is up 75% and the Côte d’Ivoire’s cocoa footprint has grown by 80%.

Greenpeace said by 2050 global meat consumption was forecast to increase by 76%, soya production by almost 45% and palm oil production by nearly 60%.

“Preventing climate and ecological breakdown will require transformative changes to the way forests are managed and agricultural commodities are produced, dramatic reductions in meat and dairy consumption and the phasing out of crop-based biofuels and bioplastics,” said the report.

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