New Report Examines The Level To Which Retailers Are Tackling Deforestation

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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New Report Examines The Level To Which Retailers Are Tackling Deforestation

A new study by Global Canopy has found that European retailers 'still have a lot of work to do' when it comes to making firm commitments to tackle deforestation.

The Forest 500 ranking features 350 companies with the most exposure to tropical deforestation-risk worldwide. Each company is assessed on their approach to deforestation and associated human rights, based on the information published by the company on its website.

Just six of the 14 European supermarket groups assessed in the Forest 500 have made a public commitment to ending deforestation across all of their supply chains, Global Canopy said. In addition, none of the supermarket groups meet Forest 500’s definition of a 'strong commitment' – to be free from deforestation, conversion of all natural ecosystems, and free from associated human rights abuses such as labour rights, rights to land, and related issues.

Retailer Commitments

For example, Germany's Schwarz Group, which owns Lidl, Kaufland, Handelshof and Kaufmarkt, has a zero gross conversion commitment (no deforestation or other ecosystem conversion) for all commodities, Global Canopy said, but drops points on commitments to prevent human rights abuses.

Elsewhere, Sweden's ICA Gruppen has not made any commitments to zero-gross deforestation or conversion for any of its commodities, but it does have a commitment to using a credible certification scheme for palm oil, timber and pulp and paper supplies. According to Global Canopy, it also has a 'vague commitment' for its soy to be responsibly sourced, and no commitment for beef.


In addition, SPAR International has a commitment for credible certification for pulp and paper, with sustainability commitments for soy and palm oil.

Performance is weakest for beef, where just six supermarkets have a deforestation commitment, and strongest for timber and pulp and paper.

Just one of the supermarket groups assessed, Carrefour, reports on its progress towards implementing its commitments across all commodities covered by a deforestation commitment. Three supermarkets, meanwhile, have a process in place to monitor their suppliers for compliance with their policies across all of their commodities.

In addition, four supermarket groups commit to check that their commodity supplies are produced legally. None of the supermarkets assessed report on how much of all of their commodity supply chains are deforestation-free.


Read More: Commitment To End Deforestation Is Welcome, But Difficult Work Begins Now, Says CGF

Implementation Process

A number of supermarkets do report on how they implement their commitments in some supply chains – for example, 12 supermarkets report on progress in implementing their commitment in palm oil supply chains and nine of the 12 monitor supplier compliance for palm oil.

'While the overall picture shows that no supermarkets are doing enough to ensure that all of their commodity supply chains are deforestation-free, the progress made in palm oil supply chains, and the action across commodities by some companies points the way for others to follow,' Global Canopy said. 'The legislation in the pipeline for EU and UK markets is expected to drive further action from companies, and it is important that the legislative measures cover all commodities for both jurisdictions.'

'But to meet the climate goals set out in the Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forests and Land-Use, supermarkets need to go beyond the legislative requirements and take more ambitious action to ensure their supply chains are free from deforestation and associated human rights abuses.'

© 2022 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest Retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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