Businesses Inhibit COP26 Deforestation Goals

Businesses continue to fund deforestation and Inhibit COP26 Deforestation Goals

At COP26 last year, over 100 countries representing 85% of the earth's forests promised to end deforestation by 2030. But businesses are putting that goal in jeopardy. According to the Forest 500, a report by the nonprofit Global Canopy, most of the 500 businesses and financial institutions they studied made no commitments to phase out deforestation.

Forest 500: A climate wake-up: but business failing to hear the alarm on deforestation, January 12, 2022.

Why This Matters

Agriculture, forestry, and other land uses comprise almost a quarter of global greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Trees are integral in mitigating or even preventing climate change by acting as carbon stores. Without them, the world would have already shot past 1.5 degrees of warming. Moreover, much of the world's carbon stores -- mangroves, peatlands, old-growth forests, and marshes -- contain irrecoverable carbon, meaning that if it were released, it would be impossible to recapture by 2050.

Conservation International: What on Earth is Irrecoverable Carbon?, March 31, 2021.

Getting Deforestation Out Of The Supply Chain

Over half of the companies included in the Forest 500 are somehow involved in the soy, beef, and palm oil supply-chains, which are particularly reliant on deforestation. Meanwhile, 150 financial institutions gave over $5.5 trillion to companies in forest-risk sectors.

Even the companies that do have deforestation commitments don’t have structures to enforce them. The report found that almost one-third of companies with at least one deforestation commitment don't ensure that their suppliers comply with them, and 47% of them do not report the amount of forest-risk commodities they use.

Bloomberg Quicktake: The Brazilian Amazon's Tipping Point May Already Be Here, September 28, 2021.

CBS News: Complicit - The Amazon Fires, February 27, 2021.