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World Wildlife Fund On Balance

filtered by category: Supply Chain Management

  • Date: 21 February 2017
  • Author: Jason Clay

When a large, global food company commits to deforestation-free commodities, its entire supply chain listens. And when McDonald’s does so, other global food companies follow suit. That’s why the company’s commitment to source only deforestation-free beef by 2020 in regions with identified risks relating to the preservation of forests holds such promise to protect critical habitats, including Latin America’s most valuable ecosystems.

While deforestation has slowed across parts of the Amazon, it remains the world’s largest arc of deforestation. Furthermore, as if to compensate for progress in the Brazilian Amazon, deforestation has intensified in other Amazon regions of countries neighboring Brazil, as well as the Cerrado savannah of Brazil, and the Chaco mixed grass and woodlands of Paraguay and Argentina.

Many factors drive deforestation, but beef production is the biggest. Cattle ranching occupies about 80 percent of the deforested area in the Amazon, and it has led to the conversion of nearly 200 million acres of Cerrado habitat. Between 1976 and 2011, more than 29 million acres of Chaco habitat were converted largely first for the production of beef and then soy, a feed source for livestock.

The environmental impacts of deforestation are clear: it contributes to climate change, drought, soil degradation and erosion, water pollution, the spread of disease, and the loss of biodiversity. There are a number of social impacts as well from land conflicts to bonded and child labor, the displacement of indigenous cultures, and deterioration of water quality for drinking and fish, the most common source of protein in many affected areas.

From multinational traders to smallholder farmers, businesses increasingly recognize the economic risks of deforestation, such as resource scarcity and soil degradation, supply chain instability, legal jeopardy, and reputational harm. Its impact on weather variability is particularly troublesome for Latin American farmers who largely rely on rain as opposed to irrigation. Indeed, research indicates that deforestation has contributed to several “once-in-a-century” droughts and floods in Brazil since 2000.

Global food companies are in a unique position to influence not only their own supply chains but also that of their rivals. McDonald’s need for ground beef from select cuts leaves the majority of each animal for other buyers. In other words, for every pound of deforestation-free beef raised on farms that supply to McDonald’s, several more pounds of food—as well as leather and other byproducts—are destined for other companies’ supply chains, facilitating a sector-wide move to conserve forests.

WWF is working to support the transition to deforestation-free commodities, such as beef, soy, palm oil, timber, and so on. As a founding member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, for example, WWF works with producers, other industry players, environmental NGOs, and researchers to push for the adoption of locally appropriate indicators and metrics that help producers reduce the footprint of the beef they produce. In collaboration with National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, we are securing commitments from other companies in the beef and soy supply chains to eliminate deforestation in the Amazon, Cerrado, and Chaco ecosystems specifically.

Just as the global, interconnected food system means that environmental and economic impacts can reverberate around the world, so too can positive commitments to protect forests ripple out across the entire industry. As one of the largest single buyers of beef, McDonald’s influences producers, processors, distributors, and other companies at every point along the value chain. Today, it is sending a clear message to all of them: the future of beef is deforestation-free.

  • Date: 14 February 2017
  • Author: Richard Holland, director, markets programme (interim), WWF

One way to tackle daunting, seemingly impossible, challenges is to break them down into manageable “chunks” and share-out responsibility for these among a large number of willing and qualified people. Such is it with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals that were adopted by 198 governments in September 2015 and which comprise some 17 goals and 169 targets, mapping out a routeway for the world community to 2030. 

Action to address these targets is being picked-up by partnerships of governments, companies, international organizations and civil society working from the local to global levels. In effect, it’s a type of large scale crowd-sourcing exercise and certainly one that is unparalleled in its ambition to eliminate extreme poverty, reduce inequality, and protect the planet in just 13 years.

To make progress toward the targets many of these programs and partnerships need information, tools, organization and funding which will come from hundreds, or more likely, tens of thousands of sources. Voluntary sustainability standards represent one set of ready-made tools and platforms that can help business take positive steps towards several of the 2030 targets. And do so in a way that supports many millions of small-holder farmers, fishing communities and forest owners improve their standards of living, while satisfying growing consumer demands for more ethical products.

The ISEAL-WWF Report “SDGs mean business: how credible standards can help companies deliver the 2030 Agenda“ provides a clear explanation as to the role that credible voluntary sustainability standards can play in helping business contributing tangibly to the SDG agenda, and start doing this now.

 

The Report provides examples of results that have already been achieved towards the Goals for food security, health, gender equality, water management, decent work, sustainable consumption and production, climate change, life undersea and on land, and for partnership.

Voluntary standards are of course no “silver bullet”. They are only one means to make progress and ultimately governments and businesses will need to combine these with many other efforts and measures. Still they can be employed efficiently by businesses at every link in the value chain – enabling producers, harvesters and processors to achieve a recognized level of sustainability, and traders, manufacturers and retailers to address the impacts of their supply chains. In doing so, they contribute across a number of SDGs.

As well as helping tackle challenges described by the SDGs, the use of voluntary standards generally align well with business interests in many sectors. Indeed at their best they allow companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors, anticipate increasing consumer demand for new products, secure access to needed resources and increase the value of their brands.

By providing a way to link economic interests with contributing to the SDG agenda, the chances of attracting more people to get involved should increase. In this way voluntary standards can help generate a few of the many, many hands that will be needed to achieve the SDG goals over the coming 13 years.

  • Date: 21 November 2016

WWF’s Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA) works to encourage the responsible development of plant-based plastics. Members of the BFA, including WWF’s lead on packaging and material science, Erin Simon, recently traveled to the Northern Great Plains, one of only four remaining intact temperate grasslands in the world.

The BFA members journeyed to the Northern Great Plains to see how sustainable agricultural practices can help conserve and protect the prairies for generations to come. The members were on a fact-finding mission: to see first-hand how they could leverage their collective power to achieve WWF’s goal of sourcing crops (or “feedstock”) for plastics production in a way that also protects this ecologically-sensitive region. Here is a look at what they learned about the importance of ecosystem health in their travels.

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  • Date: 17 November 2016

During World Water Week in Stockholm on Sept. 1, 2016, WWF’s Lindsay Bass, The Coca-Cola Company’s Greg Koch and LimnoTech’s Paul Freedman took a seat to participate in a recorded SIWI Sofa session, “Balancing Act: What Now for Corporate Water Goals?”

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  • Date: 25 August 2016

WWF and The Coca-Cola Company have been working together since 2007 to help conserve the world’s freshwater resources. We’ve made great strides in 2015 to help ensure healthy, resilient freshwater basins in our focal areas of the Mesoamerican Reef catchments in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, and the Yangtze River in China.

Learn more about our progress in measurably improving environmental performance across Coca-Cola’s supply chain, integrating the value of nature into decision-making processes, and convening influential partners to solve global environmental challenges.

A Transformative Partnership to Conserve Water: Annual Report 2015

  • Date: 23 August 2016
  • Author: Dave McLaughlin, WWF

From ice cream to cold cream, many of the processed foods, cosmetics and other consumer goods in our supermarkets contain palm oil. This ingredient is the world’s most popular and efficient source of vegetable oil, yielding several times more oil per acre than soybeans or canola. Yet its popularity is also its vulnerability; palm oil plantations are expanding rapidly, encroaching on wildlife habitat, destroying rainforests, and contributing to climate change.

For companies buying and using palm oil, it’s critical they trace the products all the way back to the plantation where the oil-yielding palm fruit is grown. This is the only way to be certain their supply is produced responsibly and free of deforestation. It’s also the best way to help producers improve their environmental and economic performance.

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  • Date: 05 August 2015

The green Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo on a product means the most responsible forest management practices were used to make the product. Smaller trees were not harmed when harvesting larger trees, the rights of people living in or near the forest were respected, wildlife habitat was not degraded, and more.

Many forest operators know this or are learning about it. That’s huge progress. But taking action to get the FSC certification is another story. Often, they think the cost of FSC will have a negative impact on their bottom line.

A WWF study published today dispels this belief.

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  • Date: 24 July 2015
  • Author: David McLaughlin, Vice President, Sustainable Food, World Wildlife Fund

Since 2008, we have seen two global food price shocks—the result of disruptions to supply and demand driven by drought, unusual weather,and increased consumption. These events have highlighted the interconnected natureof the global food system as well as its fragility in the face of volatile weather patterns, constraints on natural resources in traditional growing regions, and our ability to meet increased demand. These crises are playing out in places such as California and Brazil, where demands for energy and water, agriculture, and urban populations are in stiff competition. And as we look ahead 20 years with these events in mind, we’re confronted with a few key questions: Are today’s breadbaskets going to be tomorrow’s? Do we have the natural resources base to maintain food production in these regions? And if not what are the alternatives?

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  • Date: 22 March 2015
  • Author: Imakando Sinyama, WWF Zambia

WWF and Sedex released a brief for World Water Day examining corporate water risks, and of the many important take-aways, the one that sticks with me most is this: Even if a business is highly water efficient or uses a relatively small amount of water, they may still be at risk.

This is counter-intuitive in the extreme, and clearly it is a message that hasn’t sunk in with most suppliers. To help get your head around this, let’s take a look at a very specific example: the Kafue Flats.

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  • Date: 16 March 2015

On March 3, a group of stakeholders from producers and processers, to retailers and packers, and NGO’s, including World Wildlife Fund, launched the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. We sat down with Wayne Fahsholtz, past president and CEO of Padlock Ranch in Wyoming, and founder of AgWin Group, a ranch management consulting service, to talk with him about the role the ranching community plays in the production of sustainable beef.

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