Clear-Cut Issue: Global Brands Ranked (and Urged) to Address Deforestation

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Deforestation is at last being acknowledged as a global problem, and nonprofit Forest 500, a modern-day Smokey the Bear, aims to stamp it out entirely.

Forest 500 identifies, ranks and tracks companies, governments and financial institutions worldwide that together could virtually eradicate tropical deforestation.

Of 250 companies ranked using a five-point scale developed by Global Canopy Programme, only seven received top marks: Groupe Danone from France; Kao Corp. from Japan; Nestle from Switzerland; Procter & Gamble from the US; and, from the UK, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever and HSBC.[more]

These top-ranked companies have all signed agreements like the New York Declaration on Forests, which commits governments and corporations to reaching zero forest loss by 2030, and eliminating deforestation from the production of agricultural products by 2020.

Most forest degradation is caused by production of only a few commodities, such as palm oil, soy, beef, leather, timber, and pulp and paper. Flowing through complex supply chains, they ultimately end up in 50 percent of packaged goods in supermarkets worldwide.

Yet, it turns out, these commodities can be produced sustainably without impacting tropical forests, and there is now clear global consensus that the transition to deforestation-free supply chains is an urgent priority, Forest 500 reports.

Greenpeace lauds the initiative: “This ranking will help bring some transparency to the policies of the 500 individuals, businesses and institutions that will to a large degree determine the future of the world’s rainforests.”

However, the group notes, “The picture is far from pretty. Of the 400 companies and investors assessed, only 7 scored high enough to go in the top bracket, with dozens at the bottom not scoring any points at all.”

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