Deforestation: look after your supply chain and forests will look after you

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Tropical forests are home to at least half of the planet’s terrestrial biodiversity. They remove and store carbon from the atmosphere, and are critical for keeping global temperature increases to bearable levels. Close to half of the world’s tropical forests have already been cleared for access to timber and new agricultural land. The major driver of global deforestation comes from customer and product demand for commodities and ingredients including timber/paper/pulp, palm oil, beef, and soy, which is used mostly in animal feed.

Every business can play its part in managing its supply chains for food, fibre, fuel and packaging more effectively.  Industry leaders are showing the way.

Seven ways to make a difference:

1.       Inform and educate consumers, customers, investors, suppliers, and your own staff, on the importance of sourcing sustainable products and materials

2.       Lobby governments in both consuming and producing countries to tighten and enforce regulations, to stop materials from dubious sources entering supply chains and stores

3.       Collaborate to improve cross-sector systems and tools which support traceability and the dissemination of best practice and certification standards

4.       Establish a distribution network for sustainable raw materials, and provide better information on materials substitutions that cover sustainability aspects as well as quality and cost parameters

5.       Supplement the procurement of certified material with bespoke traceability and supply chain management systems, to increase transparency and collaboration

6.       Provide more training, support and investment in the supply chain and its organisation, and encourage suppliers to use only sustainable materials, even when they are minor components

7.       Commit to longer-term buying relationships, embed processes and KPIs within design, commercial and buying teams, and develop greater visibility of secondary suppliers

Here’s a link to the recently published CDP Forests Report, which we collaborated on

The 2014 CDP Global Forests Report is written on behalf of 240 investors with US$15 trillion in assets, and highlights the measures being taken by over 150 of the world’s largest companies in their efforts to reduce commodity-linked deforestation.

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