Industry leaders unite to develop deforestation guidance

Mars, L'Oreal and Tetra Pak are among a host of international businesses that have come together to form a new cross-sector initiative to help tackle deforestation and develop better climate change accounting methods.

Sustainability and lifecycle consultancy Quantis last week launched the initiative to develop guidance on accounting for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation. The global project aims to develop a credible, methodological guide that companies can use to account for climate change impacts and set science-based targets.

The initiative has already bought together a number of non-profits, Government and academic institutions such as the Rainforest Alliance, ADEME and the Sustainability Consortium. It plans to release the guidance publicly in April 2017 and will be open to additional members throughout November 2016.

Quantis US managing director and project lead Jon Dettling said: “Companies understand the need to reduce the impacts of their supply chains and are increasingly interested in communicating about their efforts. Credible metrics are critical for achieving both.

“A greenhouse gas accounting method that is conducive to corporate goal setting and supply chain management will allow companies to achieve progress and to communicate credibly on these efforts.”

Deforestation and its resulting impacts from land use are estimated to account for more than 20% of global emissions. Mounting pressure on businesses to set science-based emissions reduction targets and effectively tackle deforestation in their supply chains prompted Quantis to call on companies, especially those dealing with agricultural and forestry products, to better measure and track their progress on mitigating impacts on forests.

Believe in better

The guide will specifically focus on informing businesses how to calculate emissions from deforestation and how to address these findings within a corporate environment through various supply chain and product assessments.

Among the businesses from diverse industries to have already joined the initiative are Barry Callebaut, Ferrero, General Mills, Lenzing, LVMH, Pirelli, Philip Morris International and Yara, with more expected to follow in the coming months.  

Commenting on the collaborative initative, Mars’s global sustainability director Kevin Rabinovitch said: “Mars is excited to be part of this initiative – we believe better and more consistent quantification of emissions from deforestation will help accelerate global efforts to reduce both deforestation and emissions.“

Supply chain deforestation and transparency has featured extensively in recent edie coverage, particularly in the area of sustainable palm oil sourcing, which recently saw one of the world’s biggest palm oil suppliers, IOI Group, accused of deforesting Indonesian rainforests. As a result, a number of high-profile businesses including Unilever cancelled contracts with the supplier.

Several companies such as The Body Shop have recently launched their own individual campaigns to restore damaged forests recently. International agri-foods business Cargill recently forged a new partnership with global research organisation World Resources Institute (WRI) to improve the sustainability of its supply chain, with a particular focus on deforestation and water risk.

Alex Baldwin

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