U.S. govt has role to play in stopping commodity-driven deforestation

The U.S. government could play a key role in breaking the link between commodity production and greenhouse gas emissions associated with tropical deforestation, argues a new report released by seven environmental groups.

The report, titled Breaking the Link between Commodities and Climate Change, looks at the opportunity to address deforestation by targeting four commodities that drive the bulk of tropical forest clearing today: beef, palm oil, pulp and paper, and soy. These commodities are directly consumed by Americans and American companies, presenting a leverage point for tackling a global issue that has far-reaching impacts on human rights, climate change, and biodiversity.

Already some companies are moving to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains by establishing sourcing policies that set criteria for commodity production. For example, The Consumer Goods Forum, a global industry network representing companies with $3 trillion in annual revenue, has set a zero net deforestation target for 2020. Companies like Disney, McDonald’s, Nestle, Office Depot, and Unilever have gone a step further in some cases by setting goals for specific commodities at earlier dates.

But the report says more needs to be done and the U.S. government can play a key role in accelerating and expanding the shift toward decoupling commodity production and deforestation.

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