Companies failing on deforestation

A year ago, 235 investors called for action from companies to halt deforestation in the Amazon, yet a year later just 33 of them have introduced zero-deforestation policies of their own.

The striking assessment is by Global Canopy, and its research followed large financial institutions with over $16tr in assets under management.

Last year the UN PRI initiative and Cere urged companies to have publicly available commodity-specific no deforestation policies, to take action to minimise their risk of exposure to deforestation and to disclose that risk. They also called for companies to be transparent about whether they monitor if their suppliers have zero-deforestation policies and whether these are implemented, with clear annual reporting on exposure and progress.

However, Global Canopy’s analysis found, one year since signing the statement, just 21 of the 235 investors have taken steps to ensure they have their own deforestation policies in place covering all of the forest-risk commodities in their portfolios. A further 12 investors have policies for timber and palm oil but not for soy and cattle, despite these being the main drivers of deforestation in Brazil.

A separate assessment, also by Global Canopy, of the 150 financial institutions with the most exposure to deforestation in their portfolios earlier this year found that 102 of these did not have a deforestation policy for any of the forest-risk commodities in their portfolios.

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