Linking REDD+ with consumer goods companies at COP20

Earlier this week at the climate change COP in Lima, PwC's Chris Webb highlighted how the REDD+ community can help companies achieve their pledges to deliver net zero deforestation within their supply chains

To save the world’s tropical forests, we need to change the way we grow crops and raise livestock.  Agriculture is currently the largest driver of deforestation around the world. Making this change is a big task, but it has not stopped a number of initiatives from trying.

Under the UNFCCC, international climate change negotiators are trying to put a price on the carbon stored in forests.  This could make them worth more standing, than cut down and cleared for agriculture. Meanwhile the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) now has an aim for zero net deforestation by 2020 from four the key agriculture commodities which cause deforestation (soy, cattle, palm oil and pulp & paper). However, these two groups rarely engage with each other, speak different languages and whilst share a common goal, they approach it in a completely different way.

If harnessed, these differences could be turned into synergies that accelerate and scale progress. If left unchecked, we may see the opposite.  This was the main conclusion of my presentation at an event on Thursday on REDD+ and supply chains hosted by IETA at the COP in Lima.

I also flagged the six areas where these two communities have complementary skills, as outlined in PwCs recent paper :

1. Achieving supply chain traceability down to the farm level

2. Gathering data on whether or not the production has, or will, lead to deforestation

3. Engaging local governments where problems are identified

4. Certifying producers to demonstrate they are not clearing the forest

5. Signing clear and fair agreements between the buyers and producers

6. Measuring and monitoring to track on-going performance

At a pre-COP event PwC hosted in London where several CGF companies and representatives from the REDD+ community came together, 100% of the attendees said that the two need to work much closer together. If this doesn’t happen soon, this opportunity of aligned objectives, renewed enthusiasm and resources to take action, could be missed.