Companies might not meet their 2020 deforestation goals, after all

Some 250 firms aren’t doing enough to address deforestation risks in their supply chains, according to new data.

Nestle, Mars, M&S, Danone and Kellogg scored top marks for their strong commitments to tackle deforestation in their supply chains.

That’s according to the Forest 500, which assesses the 250 companies and 150 financial institutions with the “greatest influence over forests” on their commitments to tackle deforestation in four commodity supply chains: soy, palm oil, cattle, and timber (including pulp and paper).

However, the 18 firms who scored top marks are the exception, not the rule; only one in five of the companies and financial institutions committed to address all deforestation-risk commodities, and 25 firms scored zero.

No financial institutions scored five out of the possible five, and 65 (43%) got zero.

While commitments are growing, companies are “acting too slowly” to address the risks of tropical deforestation – with some continuing to ignore the supply chain impacts on forests, the annual ranking finds.

As a result, they won’t be able to ensure deforestation-free supply chains by the end of the decade.

Four companies dealing in beef and leather – cattle production being cited as the biggest driver of tropical deforestation – have even dropped commitments since Forest 500 began tracking in 2014.

“This year’s ranking clearly shows that while some leading companies have recognised the importance of tackling deforestation in their supply chains, most have not, and many are taking a piecemeal approach,” said Dr Sarah Lake, Supply Chains Programme Lead at Global Canopy.

“Companies need to develop policies across all their supply chains to ensure forests are protected, and financial institutions need to ensure that their investment policies recognise deforestation risks in their portfolios.”

You can find the Forest 500 annual ranking and annual report here.