Overview of issues
As a result of unfair trade, production and distribution practices, today’s food system fails to provide equitable access to nutrition for nearly one in seven people. The situation is exacerbated by the impact of climate change, which has produced increased flooding, more frequent and enduring droughts and pollution. How businesses respond to these growing pressures on our world’s food supply will determine whether hunger and poverty are eradicated or soar to new heights.
Commercial agriculture accounted for over 70% of tropical deforestation, half of which was illegal. Deforestation has attracted significant attention from civil society, business and governments, accounting for approximately 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to biodiversity loss, soil erosion, disrupted rainfall patterns, community land conflicts and forced labor. Consumers are increasingly demanding that businesses become more responsible and transparent, rewarding those they perceive to be good environmental stewards and corporate citizens. The New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF), first endorsed at the United Nations Climate Summit in September 2014, is a voluntary and non-binding international declaration to take action to halt global deforestation by 2030. It has over 190 endorsers including governments, multi-national companies, indigenous communities, and NGOs. CDP’s Forest Program included 515 institutional investors with assets of US$106 trillion asking companies to disclose how they are managing the direct and indirect risks posed by deforestation. Of the companies that were invited to report in 2018, over 70% failed to report on critical forest related information. In its report published last October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlighted that sustainable development in the land sector, including reduced deforestation, is vital for curbing climate change.
SGI members have engaged particularly around the issues of sustainable agriculture (e.g. deforestation), access to nutrition, and food wastes. Members have been engaged with food manufacturers and retailers on palm oil, soy, cattle, and other commodities that drive supply chain deforestation impacts. They have engaged fast food companies on access to nutrition and childhood obesity. They are starting to discuss food wastes with manufacturers, wholesale distributors and retailers.
Deforestation & Sustainability:
- Ceres: Investor Guide to Deforestation and Climate Change
- CDP Forests
- US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef: https://www.beefsustainability.us/