Our key takeaway: Ending deforestation and land conversion are fundamental to meeting global net-zero climate change goals. See: the outcomes of COP27 on climate, COP15 on biodiversity and just about every other major report and conference on environmental and human rights topics of late. In short, protecting forests and natural ecosystems is a ready-made (and passive!) investment in avoiding the worst impacts of climate change over the coming decades. Yet companies and their investors are blowing past their time bound deforestation goals—or in some cases, not even setting them—which means lost progress towards net-zero emissions goals. All of this also means that human rights are likewise at risk: human rights risks and impacts are inextricably linked not only with deforestation impacts but also with broader climate and biodiversity impacts. Global Canopy provides recommendations for both the leaders and the laggards among companies and investors exposed to commodity-linked deforestation, including: recognizing deforestation as both a business and human rights risk; understanding how deforestation, climate change and human rights intersect; creating policies that link these topics; and setting a goal of 2025 for supply chains without deforestation, land conversion and the associated human rights impacts—and, this time, sticking to it.
Global Canopy released the findings of its 2023 Forest 500 benchmark (February 2023), which tracks policies and performance on deforestation among 350 companies and 150 financial institutions: