Key ecosystems in the region include the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest; the Cerrado, a savannah ecosystem; the Atlantic Forest, reduced to 10% of its original cover; the Gran Chaco lowlands and Mexico’s Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.
Latin America is a major producer and exporter of agricultural commodities such as soy, beef, sugar, palm oil, cocoa, coffee, and timber. Brazil, for example, is the world’s largest producer of sugar, while in Mexico the sugar industry employs almost a million people. However, the intensive agricultural and livestock production has also led to deforestation and conversion, land conflicts and human rights abuses, particularly within local communities and Indigenous Peoples.
With our broad presence on the ground throughout Latin America, we bring an exceptional knowledge of how things work in the region. This expertise is critical to help brands and retailers understand the challenges within their supply chains, but also to support effective engagement at mill and farm level. Our work focuses on the production and sourcing of beef, soy and sugarcane across the region, but we also working on timber, cocoa and red seaweed.
By supporting policy development, we can help turn responsible sourcing commitments into actions. And, by working with companies in different positions of the supply chain, we can help them to identify the leverage points for positive change, engage partners with action plans, and monitor and report progress and performance.
Our focus has been on land use change and conservation. Since 2018, Proforest conducted six High Conservation Value (HCV) assessments across the region, primarily focused on smallholder production.
Our extensive experience in convening and facilitating discussions builds momentum for collective action.
By driving long-term programmes in partnership with other organisations and bringing together different stakeholders on a pre-competitive basis, we enable discussions that result in effective collaboration across sectors. For example, we played a key role in the development of GTPS (Brazil’s working group for sustainable cattle ranching) and its governance structure.
Some of our work is global or transboundary in nature, including initiatives focused on certification systems (such as the Round Table on Responsible Soy or RTRS), global initiatives (such as IDH Verified Sourcing Areas) and the implementation of global corporate policies in multiple countries.
Developing knowledge and capacity
We build capacity in different stakeholders to bridge gaps of knowledge and communication, deliver improved practices and develop tools, guidance and practices that can be adopted by producers, supply chain companies, governments and civil society organisations. We developed the Soy Toolkit, which brings guidance for demand-side companies to implement the different steps of responsible sourcing of soy.
We developed the Sustainability Engagement Platform, an online system to help companies identify and map their supply chain quickly and use returned data into valuable insights to prioritise engagement and streamline progress and compliance with their sustainability criteria.
In Colombia and Central America, we deliver practical training on using High Conservation Values-High Carbon Stock Approaches (HCV-HCS) and other technical tools to deliver on NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation) commitments, as well as RSPO requirements – for lead assessors and producers. Recognising that a lack of access to certification systems can be a barrier for smallholders engaging with responsible sourcing markets, we have worked with RSPO to develop and deliver training for smallholder group managers for the RSPO Independent Smallholder Certification Framework.
The Soy Toolkit
Proforest developed the Soy Toolkit on behalf of the Good Growth Partnership with the aim to decouple soy production and trading from deforestation
Supporting Nestlé’s global implementation of Responsible Sourcing Guidelines for sugar
Proforest is now working with Nestlé, the world's largest food and nutrition company, to develop and implement their Responsible Sourcing Guidelines (RSGs) for sugar. The guidelines incorporate environmental and social criteria and complement Nestlé's 'Creating Shared Value' objectives. The first version of the RSGs has now been developed, and Proforest is currently commencing the process of working directly with Nestlé's suppliers to support them in the complementation of the RSGs.
Respecting human rights in sugar cane production
We are working in collaboration with Grupo Santos and Mars to improve the health and safety conditions of cane cutters from the Huasteca region in Mexico. This is a three year program which aims to reduce the risks of accidents...
Working together for sustainable palm oil in Mexico
In Mexico, Proforest is working with PepsiCo, Nestle, Oleopalma (a palm oil production company) and Femexpalma (the Mexican Federation of Oil Palm producers) on a sector-wide collaboration focused on making Mexico’s palm oil more...
Supporting smallholders and mills to achieve Bonsucro certification in Mexico
In Mexico, Proforest is working with PepsiCo, Bonsucro, Peterson and Grupo Azucarero Mexico (GAM), to foster collaboration on sustainable sugar cane. GAM is a large sugar-producing company, operating four mills across the country....