WWF Statement on Consumer Goods Forum and U.S. Government Partnership on Deforestation

WASHINGTON, DC, JUNE, 20, 2012 — In response to the partnership announced today between the United States Government and the companies of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) to take deforestation out of supply chains, Dr. Jason Clay, Senior Vice President of Market Transformation at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said:

“It’s refreshing to see the U.S. government work with the private sector to tackle a major issue like deforestation. Public-private sector collaboration of this kind is critical if the CGF is to deliver on its promise to eliminate deforestation from the supply chains for palm oil, soy, paper and beef products by 2020.

“This is something concrete. It could be a game changer, especially in light of all the talk this week in Rio de Janeiro about a future where humans and nature live in harmony. As obstacles mount for UN negotiators in Rio, a partnership like this can have meaningful on-the-ground impact, helping to conserve natural resources in the face of rising demand for food and consumer products.

“Meeting the CGF companies’ commitments to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains by 2020 would effectively create an estimated $25 billion market, for these four commodities alone, of more sustainable purchases every year.

“WWF has been an active participant in developing and helping the CGF companies execute their deforestation commitments. WWF experts will continue this engagement to ensure that the proposed high-level Partnership Dialogue in Washington, DC in the fall of 2012 to initiate the partnership launched today will achieve the level of success that we all want to see.  

“In pursuit of this commitment, CGF companies will need help to advance four key strategies for scaling up food and fiber production in a way that conserves global biodiversity:

1) Drive more supply and demand, but in particular ensure that sufficient producers become certified through global independent sustainability standards so that there is enough product globally to meet the commitment. 

2) Drive greater agricultural and pulp productivity using technology and innovation to improve efficiency so that we can produce more with less—less land, water, and habitat loss.

3) Rehabilitate degraded and underperforming land and use it to produce new crops, stemming the expansion into natural habitat.

4) Help to develop a global agricultural model where carbon is integrated into commodity pricing.”

Rising global demand for food and consumer products is accelerating deforestation, especially in tropical areas, leading to climate change and a rapid decline in critical habitat for several species, notably primates, tigers and elephants. WWF’s recently released Living Planet Report finds that biodiversity has declined 28 percent since 1970, and 60 percent of this decline has taken place in the tropics.