Almost 10 years ago, members from the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) – which also consists of some of the world’s largest consumer brands – vowed to stop deforestation by the year 2020. The plan was to find more sustainable methods of commodity production for the main contributors to deforestation: paper and pulp, palm oil, soya, and cattle.
However, a study from Greenpeace International indicates that the beginning of 2020 will see the destruction of approximately 50 million hectares of forest due to the increased use of agricultural products over the last decade since the CGF members made their promises. The report, Countdown to Extinction, suggests that since 2010, soya plantations in Brazil have risen by 45 percent, and Indonesian palm oil production has gone up by 75 percent. Other studies have revealed that livestock and their byproducts are responsible for more than 32 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year – over 50 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
90 percent of soya manufactured worldwide is used as animal feed. Greenpeace said that they wrote over 50 retailers. traders, producers, and consumer businesses in the beginning of this year, requesting they make more of an effort to combat deforestation by divulging their commodity suppliers. Only a few responded, and everyone who actually bothered to reply with the information have sources that are linked to deforestation. None of the companies that were contacted showed any real activity to reduce the damage.
A growing problem
Global campaign lead for forests at Greenpeace UK, Anna Jones, said, “These companies are destroying our children’s future by driving us towards climate and ecological collapse. They’ve wasted a decade on half-measures and in that time, vast areas of the natural world have been destroyed. They should be in crisis talks right now, but they’re still trying to grow demand for products that will drive forest destruction even further.”
The agricultural industry is growing rapidly. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, meat consumption is predicted to rise by more than 75 percent, soya production is estimated to increase by 45 percent, and palm oil by almost 60 percent.
The CGF report said that to eliminate the climate and ecological breakdown, “transformative changes” to forest management and agricultural commodity production would need to be made as well as “dramatic reductions” in the overall use of meat and dairy products.