Companies share their thoughts on public-private collaboration - Washington DC., October 3rd
"We are part of the demand signal that is motivating people to cut down trees. So the question comes down to: how do we change what we are asking for in a way that removes the incentive for people to clear forests, or creates the incentive for people to preserve forests? How do we change our demand signals to drive a change in the behavior?" Kevin Rabinovitch, Global VP of Sustainability and Chief Climate Officer of Mars, INC.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) launched a Special Report in October 2018 on the risks of global warming, produced at the invitation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The report stated that warming beyond 1.5°C will unleash a frightening set of consequences, while the planet is currently heading for more than 3°C of warming around the world.
On the eve of the IPCC’s radical call to action and contributing to the Value Beyond Value Chains initiative, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Good Growth Partnership (GGP) convened leaders from major food brands and commodity traders in Washington DC. to discuss how to better align international efforts to tackle deforestation in an era of rapid climate change.
One long standing solution to climate change is the protection of forests. According to the 40 scientists who author the IPCC report, protecting and regenerating forests, combined with sustainable agricultural practices and efficient land use planning, could deliver up to 37 per cent of the carbon mitigation needed by 2030. The private sector is a key actor to this endeavor. By advocating for policies that support corporate deforestation-free goals, participating in existing multi-stakeholder initiatives (helping them scale-up and replicate) and supporting efforts to strengthen and enforce regulations, companies can significantly contribute to address deforestation in agricultural supply chains.
In recent years, many major producers and buyers of agricultural commodities have made ambitious commitments to eliminate deforestation from their supply chain by 2020. According to the New York Declaration on Forests’ progress assessment, the number of corporate commitments to reduce or halt deforestation driven by agricultural commodity supply chains reached 797 in 2018. Their report shows that commitments have reached significant shares of certain commodity markets, and most companies with existing commitments have started translating their commitments into action. Yet, even though there are strong signs of progress in implementation, efforts remain limited in scope and scale.
During the meeting, leaders from several major, global producers and buyers of agricultural commodities, as well as NGO representatives, had the chance to share their ideas and concerns on private sector approaches to sustainable sourcing and sector transformation. Below is a collection of conversations from several private sector participants who shared their common vision and commitment to sustainable supply chains in agricultural commodities production.