Halting Deforestation & Conversion from Agricultural Commodities

The aim of the coalition is to bring together a broad group of producer and consumer countries, companies and international and national civil society organizations committed to working together to deliver deforestation- and conversion-free food supply chains as part of a new model of agricultural production that optimizes food production, enhances rural livelihoods, and protects and restores the natural environment.

This coalition aims to work with like-minded countries and organisations involved in the ‘nature-based solutions of production’ action area of the Food Systems Summit, as well as partners engaged in other action areas set out by the summit to deliver on the Post Summit agenda, including national pathways. It also seeks to contribute to the support of ‘deforestation-free, conversion-free food supply chains’ as a growing global norm in the food system and help drive action to achieve this.

Science based evidence to prioritize this coalition

The following key literature articulates the case for ‘deforestation-free, conversion-free food supply chains’ as being a central means of contributing to a more sustainable global food system. Please see the Annex for additional resources.

Analysis found that from 2005-2013, 5.5 million hectares per year of forest loss can be attributed to 7 global commodities – oil palm, soy, cattle, plantation, wood fiber, cocoa, coffee, and rubber. Goldman, E.D., Weisse, M., Harris, N. and Schneider, M., 2020. Estimating the Role of Seven Commodities in Agriculture-Linked Deforestation: Oil Palm, Soy, Cattle, Wood Fiber, Cocoa, Coffee, and Rubber.

Study finds that in the period 2005–2013, 62% (5.5Mha yr−1 ) of forest loss could be attributed to expanding commercial cropland, pastures and tree plantations. The commodity groups most commonly associated with deforestation were cattle meat, forestry products, oil palm, cereals and soybeans, though variation between countries and regions was large. A large (26%) and slightly increasing share of deforestation was attributed to international demand, the bulk of which (87%)was exported to countries that either exhibit decreasing deforestation rates or increasing forest cover. Pendrill, F., U.M. Persson, J. Godar, and T. Kastner. 2019. “Deforestation Displaced: Trade in Forest-Risk Commodities and the Prospects for a Global Forest Transition.” Environmental Research Letters 14 (5). https://iopscience.iop.org/ article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab0d41

Study results indicate that 27% of global forest loss can be attributed to deforestation through permanent land use change for commodity production. Despite corporate commitments, the rate of commodity-driven deforestation has not declined. To end deforestation, companies must eliminate 5 million hectares of conversion from supply chains each year. Curtis, P.G., Slay, C.M., Harris, N.L., Tyukavina, A. and Hansen, M.C., 2018. Classifying drivers of global forest loss. Science, 361(6407), pp.1108-1111.

On the impacts of international trade on ecosystem services in tropical nations, there are large economic loses due to the amount of land absorbed (used for export) and estimate global annual net losses of over 1.7 x 1012 international dollars (I$). Chang, J., Symes, W.S., Lim, F. and Carrasco, L.R. (2016) International trade causes large net economic losses in tropical countries via the destruction of ecosystem services, Ambio, 45, pp.387–397.

Estimate that global forests were a net carbon sink of −7.6 ± 49 GtCO2e yr−1, reflecting a balance between gross carbon removals (−15.6 ± 49 GtCO2e yr−1) and gross emissions from deforestation and other disturbances (8.1 ± 2.5 GtCO2e yr−1) Harris N.L., Gibbs D.A., Baccini A. et al. (2021). Global maps of twenty-first century forest carbon fluxes. Nature Climate Change (234-240). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-00976-6

Deforestation is a cross cutting issue in several of the 22 menu items listed to feed 10 billion sustainably by 2050. Deforestation and conversion-free supply chains are essential ways of linking Productivity Gains and Natural Landscape Protection. WRI (2019) Creating a Sustainable Food Future: A Menu of Solutions to Feed Nearly 10 Billion People by 2050. World Resources Report. Available at: https://research.wri.org/wrr-food

A systematic review of the conservation and livelihood outcomes of the mechanisms that companies use to implement their forest-focused supply chain policies (FSPs – certifications, codes of conduct, and market exclusion mechanisms) finds that more than half of the 37 cases that rigorously measure the outcomes of FSP implementation mechanisms find additional conservation and livelihood benefits resulting from the policies. Garrett, R.D., Levy, S.A., Gollnow, F., Hodel, L. and Rueda, X. (2021) Have food supply chain policies improved forest conservation and rural livelihoods? A systematic review. Environmental Research Letters 16(3) 033002 https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abe0ed

Effective subsidy schemes must by design be truly result- and performance-based, supported by robust and objective indicators. At the same time, engaging multiple actors along key commodity value chains – including leading importing and exporting countries, traders and transporters – could lead to the development of international, commodity-specific arrangements that are able to deliver effective nutrition and sustainability goals. Gautam, M., Hayde, E. and Zhand, Y. (2021) Agriculture, Subsidies and Forests. Designing fiscal instruments for sustainable forests. World Bank, Washington DC.

Mechanisms of implementation

At the national and subnational level, there is already work underway in a number of countries on this agenda, including Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Argentina, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Indonesia, China, Germany, Canada and EU. These are supported by different organisations including WEF (Tropical Forest Alliance), UNDP (Green Commodities Programmme), UNDP/CI/IFC/UNEP/WWF (Good Growth Partnership), FAO/UNDP/UNEP (UN-REDD Programme) and others. This coalition intends to deliver impact through strengthening partnership between these organisations´ initiatives and scaling
successful results up nationally and globally.

Strategic partners

Key partners (global, regional and country level)
– Good Growth Partnership (UNDP, CI, IFC, UNEP, WWF)
– Green Commodieies Programme (UNDP)
– Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) – World Economic Forum (WEF)
– Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU)
– World Resources Institute (WRI)
– FACT Multi-stakeholder Dialogue
– The Nature Conservancy (TNC)- UN-REDD Programme (FAO, UNDP, UNEP)
Core member countries:
– We anticipate close working relationships with many of the countries involved in the FACT Dialogue as well as existing partner countries referenced below:

  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Norway
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Indonesia
  • Ghana
  • China
  • India
  • Brazil
  • Malaysia
  • Liberia
  • US
  • EC

Monitoring and Evaluation

This cluster shares similar targets to the following SDGs and will follow the same indicators:
– 15.1 – Conservation, restoration and sustainable use
– 15.2 – Sustainable forest management and halt deforestation
– 15.b – Mobilize resources to finance sustainable forest management and incentives
– 2.3 – Double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition
– 2.4 – Sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices
– 2.b – Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets (export subsidies)
– 8.4 – Improve resource efficiency in consumption and production and decouple economic growth from environmental degradation
– 12.2 – By sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
– 12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle

Monitoring and evaluation will also be pursued through FAO and other mechanisms such as through coalitions on Repurposing Public Support for Food And Agriculture, Agrobiodiversity, Decent Work and Living Incomes, Inclusive and Sustainable Food System Finance, and others. This coalition will also leverage the efforts of other initiates emerging from the Summit on aligning data, stakeholders and evidence.

Annex 1

Bastos Lima, M.G. and Persson, U.M., 2020. Commodity-centric landscape governance as a double-edged sword: The case of soy and the Cerrado Working Group in Brazil. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, 3, p.27.

Bos, A.B., De Sy, V., Duchelle, A.E., Herold, M., Martius, C. and Tsendbazar, N.E., 2019. Global data and tools for local forest cover loss and REDD+ performance assessment: Accuracy, uncertainty, complementarity and impact. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 80, pp.295-311.

Franklin, S., and Pindyck, R. 2018. ‘Tropical Forests, Tipping Points, and the Social Cost of Deforestation’. Ecological Economics 153: 161-171; Lovejoy, T. and Nobre, C. 2018. ‘Amazon Tipping Point’. Science Advances 4, 2.

Garrett, R.D., Levy, S., Carlson, K.M., Gardner, T.A., Godar, J., Clapp, J., Dauvergne, P., Heilmayr, R., de Waroux, Y.L.P., Ayre, B. and Barr, R., 2019. Criteria for effective zero-deforestation commitments. Global environmental change, 54, pp.135-147.

Hansen, M.C., Potapov, P.V., Moore, R., Hancher, M., Turubanova, S.A., Tyukavina, A., Thau, D., Stehman, S.V., Goetz, S.J., Loveland, T.R. and Kommareddy, A., 2013. High-resolution global maps of 21st-century forest cover change. Science, 342(6160), pp.850-853

Lambin, E.F., Gibbs, H.K., Heilmayr, R., Carlson, K.M., Fleck, L.C., Garrett, R.D., De Waroux, Y.L.P., McDermott, C.L., McLaughlin, D., Newton, P. and Nolte, C., 2018. The role of supply-chain initiatives in reducing deforestation. Nature Climate Change, 8(2), pp.109-116.

Pacheco, P., Mo, K., Dudley, N., Shapiro, A., Aguilar-Amuchastegui, N., Ling, P.Y., Anderson, C. and Marx, A. 2021. Deforestation fronts: Drivers and responses in a changing world. WWF, Gland, Switzerland.

Pendrill, F., Persson, U.M., Godar, J., Kastner, T., Moran, D., Schmidt, S. and Wood, R., 2019. Agricultural and forestry trade drives large share of tropical deforestation emissions. Global environmental change, 56, pp.1-10.

Tropical Forest Alliance (2021) Forests, Food Systems, and Livelihoods: Trends, Forecasts, and Solutions to Reframe Approaches to Protecting Forests. Insight Report. Available at: https://www.weforum.org/reports/forests-food-systems-and-livelihoods-trends-forecasts-and-solutions-to-reframe-approaches-to-protecting-forests

Vancutsem et al., (2021). Long-term (1990-2019) Monitoring of forest cover Changes in the Humid Tropics. Available at: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/10/eabe1603

WRI (2020). Forest Pulse: The Latest on the World’s Forests. Available at: https://research.wri.org/gfr/forest-pulse

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