The equivalent of 40 football fields-worth of tropical forests were lost every minute in 2017. Despite all the progress made by companies committed to reducing deforestation in their supply chains, commercial agricultural production of products such as palm oil, soy and beef remains the biggest cause of forest loss. And time is running out to fulfill the original 2020 commitment for deforestation-free supply chains made by more than 470 leading companies.
So here we are at the start of 2019, one year from 2020. What can be done?
We know there are no silver bullets. Market signals and supply chain approaches that have raised awareness of the issue at a global level are a vital pre-condition to deforestation-free commodity production; they create the incentives and the market pull across the value chain from producers to consumers. Certification schemes continue to play an important role, and for products like palm oil and timber these have already shifted 20% of production to more sustainable methods. Big advances have also been made in traceability and transparency, new financial mechanisms and other demand-side commitments (the Amsterdam Declaration). But we are still losing forests.