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HomeEconomyMajor Firms Still Failing to Address Deforestation, Global Canopy Report Finds

Major Firms Still Failing to Address Deforestation, Global Canopy Report Finds

Many global brands whose supply chains are linked to tropical forest loss lack a clear deforestation policy, according to a report by the non-profit research group Global Canopy. The report, published on Tuesday, highlights a decade of monitoring that shows voluntary action from the industry has been ineffective.

The report underscores the urgent need to address human-driven threats to the world’s forests, including land clearance for cattle farming and palm oil plantations. The importance of protecting forests in combating climate change and preserving biodiversity has gained increasing recognition, with nearly 200 countries at the COP28 climate talks last year pledging to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030.

Despite some progress from a few leading brands, the Forest 500 analysis by Global Canopy reveals that many companies and financial institutions are still falling short. Of the 257 firms and financial institutions tracked over the past decade, 23% have not published any commitments to address deforestation.

Emma Thomson, who led the research, stated that voluntary action has proven inadequate, emphasizing the need for regulation to achieve deforestation-free and human rights-abuse-free supply chains. She called for rapid action, implementation, and real change in the next decade.

While the report welcomed new deforestation legislation from the European Union, it urged the EU, the United States, and Britain to accelerate their own legislative efforts. However, the report noted that only 1% of firms analyzed are currently on track to comply with the new EU rules.

The Forest 500 report focuses on 350 companies and 150 financial firms with significant impacts on tropical forests, examining their policies on commodities such as beef, leather, soy, palm oil, timber, and pulp and paper. It found that 37% of these entities do not have publicly available deforestation commitments.

Among the institutions providing the most finance to companies without deforestation commitments are JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial. Additionally, the report found that 63% of companies with deforestation commitments had not provided sufficient evidence that their actions align with their intentions.

The report highlights the need for increased attention to the impacts of the cattle sector, which is a major driver of tropical deforestation. It underscores the importance of addressing deforestation across all commodities, rather than shifting attention from one to another.

Overall, the report emphasizes the role of public pressure in prompting firms to address deforestation but calls for greater efforts to tackle the widespread impacts of deforestation across various industries.