World-famous brands selling everything from high fashion to supermarket favourites are ignoring deforestation caused by demand for the commodities they use, reveals Global Canopy’s annual Forest 500 report.
Vast areas of tropical forest are being cleared each year to make way for six globally-traded commodities – palm oil, soy, beef, leather, timber and pulp and paper – used in millions of everyday products.
Yet, of the leading companies trading these commodities and the financial institutions that finance them, nearly half (242 of 500) have made no public commitment to end deforestation.
Report author Sarah Rogerson said: “Many of the world’s best-known brands are complicit in the destruction of tropical forests, which undermines our ability to combat global climate change.
“They are turning a blind eye to deforestation caused by demand for the commodities they use and failing to publicly recognise their responsibility to act.”
On average, an area of tropical forest greater than the size of the Netherlands has been lost every year from 2014 to 2018 as forests are cleared for agriculture, emitting more greenhouse gases than the whole of the EU.
The problem made global headlines in 2019 when the Amazon rainforest was devastated by fires, attributed largely to the actions of loggers and farmers.
The 2019 Forest 500 report holds to account the 350 companies that produce, trade, use or sell the largest amounts of the six key commodities and the 150 biggest institutions that finance them through bonds, loans and shareholdings. It ranks the strength and implementation of their commitments on deforestation based on publicly available information.
This article is based on a press release from Global Canopy.