From shaping legislation to tracking more financial institutions than ever before: Global Canopy’s 2022/2023 Annual Report

Insight / 24 Oct 2023

Every year, we produce an annual report and impact report that outlines our work to hold those accountable for driving tropical deforestation and nature loss, and to enable change through our data, tools and guidance.

In a year that saw almost 200 nations sign up to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity framework – a Paris moment for nature, and the creation of the world’s first anti-deforestation law in the EU, our work to shift finance away from driving nature loss has been central to these campaigns.

Working with governments

Global Canopy brought unique data and insights to the legislative process over the last financial year. Our key partnership initiative with the Stockholm Environment Initiative (SEI), Trase, influenced and enabled at various levels, 11 European government agencies to take increased action on commodity-driven deforestation.

We were significantly involved in the creation of the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), the world’s first anti-deforestation law and we are continuing to advise and offer feedback to improve its scale and scope. The EU has now committed to look at extending the law to cover wooded savannahs by 2024, and grasslands and wetlands by 2025, after Trase analysis, commissioned by the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament, showed the EUDR would omit vital non-forest ecosystems.
Trase has also supported the governments of Germany and Belgium to assess how imports are linked to deforestation, commissioned by the German development agency GIZ and the Belgian government respectively.

In the UK we’ve lobbied and worked with MPs to demand that financial institutions are included in any deforestation laws. Our Director of Policy, Helen Bellfield, told the Environmental Audit Committee regulating the financial sector was “the most important thing the UK government could do”.

Expanding our tracking and guidance work

In February 2023 we launched our ninth annual Forest 500 report – identifying and assessing the 350 companies and 150 financial institutions with the greatest exposure to tropical deforestation risk. It was our biggest ever launch, securing over 200 pieces of media coverage in 20 countries.

Forest 500 2023 report cover image

With the launch of our Deforestation Action Tracker (DAT) in November 2022, we quadrupled the number of financial institutions we assess, now monitoring all financial institutions with significant climate commitments. Our baseline data showed that the vast majority would miss their climate targets because of inaction on deforestation. Our guidance is increasingly in demand, with our Deforestation-Free Finance website seeing over 3,000 users over the financial year and the Finance Sector Roadmap itself downloaded 329 times. Building on this success, we’ve now launched a suite of bespoke guidance for pension funds and family offices and foundations, setting a pathway for them to eliminate deforestation, conversion and human rights abuses from portfolios by 2025.

World-leading data

Data remains central to our work and this last financial year has been no different. Our Trase initiative released detailed supply chain mapping data covering exports of cocoa from Côte d’Ivoire, soy exports from Brazil and their links to emissions from land use change, soy exports from Argentina and data on palm oil from Indonesia showing for the first time that company commitments and transparency are linked to improved performance on deforestation. 

The team also collaborated with leading researchers on two landmark scientific publications. The first, in Science Advances, provides a comprehensive assessment of indirect sourcing and its implications. The second, in Science, confirmed the central role of agriculture to deforestation, linking it to 90-99% of tropical forest loss. The beta version of our first commercial product, Forest IQ was launched. The partnership with ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) brings together market-leading corporate performance data on deforestation and related Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) issues from more than 2,000 companies.

Nature-related Finance

Three new beta versions of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures framework were launched over the last financial year. As a founding and piloting partner, Global Canopy contributed directly to the development of the framework recommendations. We’ve led on guidance for aquaculture, agriculture, fisheries and forest sectors and supported multiple pilots of the beta frameworks to ensure that it is market-ready.

Our ENCORE platform, which helps users assess the dependencies and impacts on nature, has grown to more than 4,000 registered users, one-third of which are financial institutions. The tool has been used in reports by the WWF, BNP Paribas, the European Central Bank, HSBC and ZSL and Caceis Investor Services. It was also used as a key assessment tool by the Central Bank of Mexico. This work meant ENCORE had a strong presence at CBD COP15 in Montreal that included videos, blogs, events and interviews.

New workstreams

Global Canopy has strengthened our  workstreams around Brazil, human rights and education and learning. This year we have worked to mainstream human rights associated with deforestation across our programmes including with the publication of our first Forest 500 human rights briefing. We’ve also continued our efforts to provide a platform to amplify Indigenous voices through our events.

It’s been another year of rapid growth for Global Canopy. We have put our data, tools and guidance into more hands and we’ve ramped up the pressure on financial institutions. We are in a decisive decade for the future of our planet and we’re grateful to our donors, partners and our team in the UK and around the world for their unwavering commitment to driving change for nature, forests and people.

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