January 25, 2022

Deforestation: the shortcomings of large companies pointed out

The companies and financial companies with the greatest potential to reduce global deforestation are not acting in this direction, undermining the forest protection pledges made at COP26 for the climate, according to a report published on January 13, 2022.

1 in 3 companies have no commitment to forest protection

The NGO Global Canopy reviewed 350 companies accused of being the most responsible for deforestation, directly or indirectly, and 150 banks, investment funds or pension funds that finance them. According to this analysis, one in three companies surveyed have no commitment to forest protection, and 72% of them have some commitments but not on all deforestation-related products in their supply chain.

Even those with commitments targeting certain specific products, in particular soybeans, beef and leather, “fail to provide evidence on how they set them up“, estimates the report.”Too few companies recognize the climate risks caused by deforestation, and few include their supply chain in their assessmentGlobal Canopy Niki Mardas told AFP. Cargill, Colgate-Palmolive, Nestle, Unilever and PepsiCo are among the top 15 companies.

Deforestation in the Amazon (AFP – Nicolas RAMALLO)

“Not an option”

The situation is no better for those who finance the 350 companies to the tune of more than 5.5 trillion dollars per year, the report estimates. 93 of the 150 financial companies analyzed do not have a deforestation policy covering investments and loans to companies most dependent on forest-ravaging commodities. And only about twenty banks or investment companies have a deforestation policy that provides for an assessment of the progress made. Among the best students, whose efforts are deemed insufficient despite everything, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial or the Sociéte Générale and Standard Chartered.

Stopping agriculture that encourages deforestation to halve emissions and repair the destruction of biodiversity by 2030 is not an option but a necessity for companies committed with credibility to carbon neutrality“, commented Nigel Topping, one of the” champions “appointed by the British presidency of the COP26.”Without this, we will not be able to limit the warming to + 1.5 ° C.“in relation to the industrial era, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement,” he added in a statement.

In November at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, some 140 countries, including Brazil and China, pledged to end and repair forest degradation and deforestation by 2030. Deforestation, encouraged by cultivation of oil palms and soybeans, through animal husbandry and forestry, poses a triple threat to the climate, local communities and biodiversity. Emissions from deforestation of tropical forests are higher than those of the EU or India, just behind the two largest emitting countries, China and the United States.