16 June 2017

From paper to practice: Proforest contributes to new zero-deforestation publication


From paper to practice: Proforest contributes to new zero-deforestation publication

An increasing number of ambitious 'zero deforestation' pledges are being made by companies and governments alike as they seek to eliminate deforestation from agricultural commodity supply chains. However, the question remains as to how these commitments can be realised.

The latest publication from the European Tropical Forest Research Network (ETFRN), titled 'Zero deforestation: A commitment to change', brings together 40 contributions from 100 experts and practitioners. They share their experiences and suggest ways to improve the effectiveness of zero deforestation commitments through public-private collaboration and other new models.

Proforest Deputy Director of Responsible Sourcing, Anna Bexell, contributed to a chapter on corporate experiences, exploring how companies’ sustainability policies can be implemented and monitored. Drawing on the example of Musim Mas, the chapter looks at how this Indonesian-based palm oil company, with support from the CORE partnership has made significant steps towards sustainable palm oil.

It highlights the importance of delivering landscape-level transformation by prioritising high-risk areas where efforts will be most effective, as well as exploring some of the key challenges associated with policy implementation. These range from difficulties in measuring progress, weakly-governed jurisdictions, and convincing third parties that sustainable production is in everyone's best interests.

The chapter offers several useful recommendations to overcome these challenges, including a ten-step process established by CORE:

  1. Analysing landscape risk
  2. Identifying producers
  3. Tracing the supply chain
  4. Evaluating performance
  5. Identifying gaps/issues
  6. Developing recommendations for improvement
  7. Training and technical assistance
  8. Evaluating progress
  9. Repeating interventions where needed
  10. Continuous monitoring

A later section dedicated to smallholder engagement provides a variety of models and examples from across a range of commodity value chains such as cocoa, coffee and cotton. An introductory chapter written by Proforest Principal Project Manager, Sophie Higman, and SHARP director Tony Hill, explores the challenges and opportunities in ‘Tackling smallholder-driven deforestation’, and how companies and smallholders can work together to build deforestation free supply chains.

The ETFRN News ‘Zero Deforestation: A commitment to change’ is available to view on the ETFRN website.

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