Oecdobserver: Data vs deforestation: A breakthrough in supply-chain transparency
We are eating our way through tropical forests. Whether it’s a cappuccino for breakfast, a burger for lunch or a chocolate bar as an after-dinner treat, the things we consume in OECD countries are often linked to deforestation in the tropics, where trees are falling at alarming rates.
Agricultural expansion to produce commodities like beef, soy, coffee, palm oil and cocoa has driven over 70% of tropical deforestation in the last decade. Deforestation has a signiﬁcant impact on local livelihoods in developing countries. It destroys the habitats and ecosystem services that underpin the security of our water, food, and energy resources.
Deforestation damages climate stability, but also business reputations. It is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to ignore the risks of environmental damage in their supply chains. In fact, several hundred companies with a multi-trillion-euro combined market value have made a commitment to eliminate even the possibility of deforestation from their supply chains. In 2014, world leaders from 18 OECD countries and 22 other countries signed the New York Declaration on Forests, a global pledge to halve the loss of natural forests by 2020, and end it by 2030. Since 2015, seven European countries have joined forces in shifting towards deforestation-free trade by forming The Amsterdam Declarations.
How do we transform these aspirations into action?
Until now, the complexity and opacity of global supply chains has made it difficult to tackle deforestation within mainstream markets. Much effort has been invested in traceability and certification but for the vast majority of commodities with deforestation risks there is simply no information to support action and policy implementation. The data revolution underway may provide solutions.