Demand for soy and meat by major brands driving deforestation - report

Tuesday 11th June 2019 12:45 BST

Greenpeace has claimed at least 50 million hectares (124 million acres) of forests across the world will have been lost in the decade to 2020 as a result of growing production and consumption of agricultural goods.

This is despite a commitment in 2010 by members of the Consumer Goods Forum, which includes major global brands, to achieve net-zero deforestation by 2020 through "sustainable" sourcing of commodities such as soy, palm oil, paper and pulp, and cattle.

Clearing forests, around 80% of which is the result of agricultural production, releases greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change and destroys important habitat, threatening species with extinction.

Anna Jones, global campaign lead for forests at Greenpeace UK, said: "These companies are destroying our children's future by driving us towards climate and ecological collapse.

"They've wasted a decade on half-measures and in that time vast areas of the natural world have been destroyed.

"They should be in crisis talks right now, but they're still trying to grow demand for products that will drive forest destruction even further."

Greenpeace said it wrote to more than 50 companies in 2019 asking them to demonstrate progress towards deforestation by disclosing their commodity suppliers.

Only a handful replied and all of those that did disclose the information source products from traders or producers involved in forest destruction and none could demonstrate meaningful action to end deforestation, the campaigners said.

The report said that since 2010, the area planted with soy in Brazil has increased by 45% and Indonesian palm oil production is up 75%.

It warned global meat consumption is set to rise by 76% by 2050, while soy production is forecast to increase by nearly 45% and palm oil by 60%.

Meat and dairy production is a big driver of forest destruction as trees are cleared for grazing land and to grow crops such as soy which are used in industrial feed.

But Greenpeace said none of the companies it contacted included animal feed in their deforestation reporting.

A Consumer Goods Forum statement said: "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."

Now On Air
Coast to Coast with Dave Pascoe
Coast to Coast brings you local and national news, interviews and reviews; we cover the arts, literature, politics and much, much more