The Forest 500 identifies and ranks the progress of the 250 companies that have the greatest potential influence in the race towards a deforestation-free global economy. In the last half century, over 50% of the world’s tropical forests have been lost; commercial agriculture supply chains have been responsible for 71% of tropical forest loss. In particular, the supply chains of five forest risk commodities have had a major impact upon rainforests – palm, soya, beef, paper and timber. The companies included in the Forest 500 represent the major corporate powerbrokers with respect to tropical deforestation in the context of these forest risk commodity supply chains. If these companies took concerted action on tropical deforestation exposure in their supply chains, they would have large-scale impact.
Companies are increasingly recognising the legislative, reputational and operational risks associated with deforestation within supply chains. In late 2014, The New York Declaration, which supports the goal of ending forest loss through agricultural commodity production by 2020, was signed by 109 companies. The Consumer Goods Forum, a network of some 400 business with almost $3 trillion in combined turnover, has similarly pledged to achieve zero net deforestation supply chains by 2020. These large-scale agreements demonstrate the growing importance for sustainability among major companies. Yet there is disparity on the scope and strength of commitments, both between sectors and regions.
This report tracks the progress of Forest 500 companies towards on addressing deforestation risks within their supply chains. It then expands upon areas of greatest concern and priority for the year ahead, namely commitments on soya.