According to a report published on Tuesday, the majority of the world’s big companies are not reporting the damage that their operations are causing to forests, even though they say that they will be lightening their carbon footprint in order to tackle climate change.
CDP, a charity that works with institutional investors having assets of €85 trillion, said that 70% of the 1,500 large companies that it inquired to failed to provide data on their impact on forests last year.
Morgan Gillespy, the global director of forests at CDP, said that “The silence is deafening when it comes to the corporate response to deforestation.”
Gillespy also added in a statement that “Consumers increasingly want to know that their shopping basket isn’t driving the destruction of the Amazon, extinction of the orangutans and the climate crisis.”
CDP is now seen as the leader when it comes to pushing investors to seek disclosure from companies on the risks of global warming causing harsh effects such as extreme weather and supply chain collapse.
The countries that did not report their data include Mondelez International, the food giant that is responsible for brands like Oreo and Nabisco, heavily relying on palm oil.
The charity has also been asking companies to report the effect that they have on forests when it comes to timber, palm oil, cattle and soy farming, all as part of the objective of increasing awareness of how important forests actually are in terms of preserving species and stabilising the climate as a whole.
From the 306 companies that actually did report their data, only 24% showed no or just limited action to reduce deforestation as a whole. Of these companies, the majority claimed that the biggest risk is that of being associated with deforestation as a whole. In Europe, 87% of consumers now want to buy deforestation-free products, as awareness of the benefits of such products have been well-marketed all around the continent.
Whilst companies like L’Oréal have a zero-deforestation policy, it is still not enough, since around 450 companies have objectives of reaching zero deforestation by 2020, yet they will not hit their targets according to projected results. L’Oréal, along with Nivea maker Beiersdorf AG, are the leaders in sustainable sourcing of palm oil according to CDP.
The report noted that “To encourage its suppliers to manage their forest footprint, L’Oréal has developed its Sustainable Palm Index, to assess suppliers’ commitments and achievements in fighting deforestation.”
Ikea refused to share its data, even though the giant in the furniture industry, which used around 18 million square metres of wood in 2018, has committed itself to making use of wood generated from sustainable sources, and has detailed data available, but has refused to provide it to CDP.
Some of the companies that CDP said that had failed to respond to the questions presented on forests said that they were still committed to greater sustainability. One of such examples is the British clothing chain Next, which said that it had completed the CDP climate questionnaire for several years, planning to source all of its timber from responsible or certified sources by the start of 2025.
The report by CDP also states that “While the private sector cannot solve this problem alone, our research suggests that the companies that produce, source and market products containing critical commodities have also not done enough to make meaningful progress – and are facing greater scrutiny by investors and consumers as the impact of deforestation becomes ever more apparent.”
CDP has been the leading not-for-profit charity running the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions in order to manage their environmental impacts for several years, by utilising a system for 15 years which has allowed them to increase engagement when it comes to worldwide environmental issues.