Fighting deforestation should be a top priority for 2021, and here’s how it can be

One of the biggest stories of 2020 was the rise of the corporate tree-planting movement, with dozens of multinational businesses from virtually every industry pledging millions of dollars to one of nature’s most effective carbon sequestration solutions. 

Now, NGOs and investors are urging consumer goods and food companies and financial institutions to devote more resources to addressing the root cause of shrinking forests, deforestation. 

Many companies have promised to address deforestation related to their business activities for years, but few have fully delivered on those plans — and an astonishingly high number of companies don’t have an explicit commitment to ending deforestation. 

A confluence of factors as we move deeper into the “Decade of Action” is raising the stakes: deepening global concerns over the loss of species habitat and biodiversity; an environmental justice awakening that has more of us attuned to systemic human rights issues, including encroachment of Indigenous communities, as well as child and slave labor; and a heightened awareness among the investment community about the long-term ecosystem and financial risks associated with deforestation.

As 2021 begins, more companies are seeing their strategies for addressing deforestation deep down into their supply chains scrutinized. 

“We need companies to make commitments that are specific to how they are addressing their supply chains,” says Jessye Waxman, shareholder advocate with Green Century Capital Management, which has so far engaged dozens of businesses encouraging them to improve their “no deforestation” policies and practices. Among those it has targeted: food service operator Aramark, meat company Tyson Foods and consumer products maker Procter & Gamble. Read more…

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