Ignacio Gavilan of CGF responds to an Ethical Corporation column by the activist NGO, saying big brands are accelerating their efforts to shift to sustainable sourcing of soy, palm oil, beef and pulp and paper

The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) is aware of a recent report sent to media by Greenpeace. (See We’re half a year from 2020. So why are big brands ignoring deforestation at their annual meeting?) The report’s conclusion incorrectly notes that companies are unwilling to do what is needed; although the global consumer industry purchases only a small fraction of the commodities that are grown in tropical forests, our members are playing an important role in addressing these issues. For that reason, nine years ago, the board of The Consumer Goods Forum launched a series of activities aimed at driving sustainable sourcing across our industry.

Since 2010 the CGF has worked with our members, governments, civil society and other stakeholders to accelerate the shift towards sustainable sourcing.

Our work has included:

  •  Sharing best practices between our members on the sourcing of the four most important commodity groups for our industry – palm oil, soy, beef, and pulp and paper – including the use of new technologies to support greater transparency of supply chains

  • Helping to strengthen and align the requirements of several third-party certification standards, including the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

  • Co-founding with the US government, the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, whose mission is to mobilise all actors to collaborate in reducing commodity-driven tropical deforestation. The TFA is the largest public-private partnership of its type, fostering cross-sector collaboration to stop deforestation in tropical forests.

  • Working with other industries that can influence deforestation, such as the Banking Environment Initiative, whose mission is to help banks establish lending practices that support the shift to sustainable sourcing

Today, the CGF’s members have moved substantially closer to our goal of 100% sustainable sourcing of the four commodity groups. But over the last nine years we have also learned that the forces driving deforestation are more complex than almost any stakeholder realised in 2010. We now believe that sourcing certified sustainable commodities is, on its own, not sufficient to eliminate deforestation.

So, over the last 18 months we have been working with our external stakeholders to develop an even more effective strategy to combat deforestation. During the Global Summit, our board met on Wednesday 12 June and we discussed the next steps to implement that strategy and we will share more details on it, as planned, during UN Climate Week in September 2019.

Ignacio Gavilan is environmental sustainability director for the Consumer Goods Forum

Consumer Goods Forum  Extinction Rebellion  supply chains  TFA2020  RSPO  Banking Environment Initiative 

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