Most firms yet to set deforestation policy


Global Canopy’s analysis of 350 companies with the greatest exposure to palm oil, soy, beef, leather, timber, pulp and paper, and 150 banks and asset managers that lend to or invest in them, showed that 201, or 40%, had no such policy. — Reuters

LONDON: Almost half of the companies most reliant on the commodities responsible for deforestation, and the financial firms that back them, have no policy to rein it in, a report says.

Global Canopy’s analysis of 350 companies with the greatest exposure to palm oil, soy, beef, leather, timber, pulp and paper, and 150 banks and asset managers that lend to or invest in them, showed that 201, or 40%, had no such policy.

Its annual “Forest 500” report comes just weeks after a global deal was struck by governments to protect biodiversity and as policymakers in the European Union and the United Kingdom plan tougher rules to do more to stamp deforestation out.

Global Canopy said 100 of the companies had a deforestation commitment in place for all of the commodities to which they were exposed, yet only half were checking to ensure the policies were being followed.

A further 109 had no deforestation commitments in place for any of the commodities.

Global Canopy defined such a policy as one where the company states it protects priority forests linked to commodities it uses or finances or that are certified by a credible scheme as being deforestation-free.

While the number of companies pledging to get to net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century had grown five-fold in three years to 145, the lack of action on deforestation was hampering their ability to hit the target, the report said.

“It is now universally accepted that ending tropical deforestation is pivotal to meeting vital global goals on both climate and nature,” said Niki Mardas, executive director of Global Canopy.

“It is remarkable that while a great many of the companies in the Forest 500 have ambitious net-zero targets, almost all of them risk missing them because of inaction.”

Ninety-two of the financial institutions most exposed to the companies also lacked such a policy, the report said, broadly unchanged from the prior year. — Reuters

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