Industry commitments to net zero deforestation in the Consumer Goods sector are unlikely to be met, unless commodity producers in the supply chain rapidly improve their management of deforestation risks and opportunities, according to CDP’s new Investor Research report “Zeroing-in on Deforestation”.

The report, which follows on from CDP’s 2019 Investor Research on Consumer Goods companies and deforestation, ranks 27 of the largest and highest impact palm oil, timber, soy and cattle traders and producers on how they are managing deforestation risk and opportunities within their supply chains.

It finds that companies in four Forest Risk Commodities (FRC) sectors – cattle, soy, palm oil and timber, responsible for 80% of deforestation globally – are not employing practices to prevent ongoing deforestation. Among the cattle producers assessed, the report finds that there is almost no visibility on where their cattle are bred or reared, and just three major soy suppliers can fully map their supply chains, which is prohibiting them from reducing the risk of sourcing from areas impacted by deforestation. In the case of both soy and cattle, companies’ innovations are failing to tackle deforestation at scale. 

Carole Ferguson, Head of Investor Research, CDP commented: “The companies assessed in this report are key suppliers to the Consumer Goods sector covered in our previous report. What is clear from this research is that if FMCGs are relying on this part of the supply chain to meet their net zero deforestation ambitions – a lot more work needs to be done. Bold and urgent action from these producers is the critical first step in tackling deforestation throughout the supply chain.”

On the other hand, consumer goods giant Unilever recently unveiled a new set of sustainability commitments, including to end its contribution to deforestation, amongst other pledges. Meanwhile, the Consumer Goods Forum – representing the world’s largest Consumer Packaged Goods brands – has announced a fresh push to tackle deforestation with its Forest Positive Coalition of Action. This push by some of the world’s most influential FMCG companies underlines the importance of immediate action across the broader supply chain.

The full report can be found here.

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