Halimah Deny Sofian from Mentebah is one of the rubber farmers participating in the pilot project in Kapuas

11.12.2019

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Many global companies have committed to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains by 2020. But as increasing global deforestation rates indicate, most of them are not on track to meet that goal. One reason could be that approaches are too narrowly defined. Taking the example of Indonesia, our authors demonstrate how an overarching approach could help implement these corporate zero-deforestation commitments and supply chain initiatives together with all involved stakeholders in a manner beneficial to forests, the overall environment and human beings – and at scale.

The world’s forests are under pressure. Despite the considerable efforts of the global community, the tropics lost 15 million hectares of tree cover on average in the last three years according to Global Forest Watch, including almost 5 million hectares of primary forest. The expansion of agriculture – both for commodity production and by smallholder agriculture – is responsible for up to 80 per cent of tropical deforestation. Notably soy, palm oil, cattle, pulp and paper but also natural rubber, cocoa, coffee and other agricultural commodities drive deforestation. Demand for agricultural land is projected to increase at the expense of forests – indirectly partly driven by the growing global population and related production and consumption patterns world-wide.

A major share of commodities produced on recently deforested lands is exported. The European Union (EU) alone accounts for 36 per cent of deforestation related to international commodity trade of crop and livestock products.

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