Tropical Agriculture, Forests, and Climate
Protecting forests is an essential tool in reducing carbon emissions and halting climate change. Global forest cover is declining at an alarming rate. National Wildlife Federation is working with U.S. and international players and our membership to convince major private sector retail brands to avoid purchasing meat, leather and agricultural commodities that originate from recently cleared tropical rain forests and other carbon rich lands.
Fashion Gets a Makeover
For decades, fashion designers have looked to wildlife and the natural world for inspiration. But now they're taking it further. Gucci, the renowned Italian fashion house, is launching the world’s first line of designer handbags made with leather from Rainforest Alliance Certified ranches. These ranches have committed to protect their forests, so purchasing these bags is actually helping to conserve Amazon forest and the wildlife it contains. Learn more...
Which Companies Take Responsibility
for their Forest Impacts?
The Forest Footprint Disclosure project and the National Wildlife Federation partnered to release the results of the last disclosure survey.
In total, 22 North American companies agreed to disclose, including major brands Disney, Kimberly-Clark, PepsiCo., and Johnson & Johnson. All participants were assigned to 1 of 15 sectors based on the nature of their business, including Food Production & Soft Drinks, Accessories & Footwear, and Travel and Leisure. In each sector, the best reports were singled out for their excellent performance.
The Forest Footprint Disclosure Project Annual Review and full list of US participants and sector winners and a list of those companies who received a request but did not disclose can be found below:
Download the FFD 2011 Annual Review here (PDF)
Download the full list here (PDF)
The Food, Forest and Carbon Challenge
Reducing deforestation, addressing climate change and feeding the world’s growing population are three of the biggest challenges facing the planet. To help answer the question of how to produce 70 percent more food by 2050 without destroying the planet, National Wildlife Federation released a report titled The Food, Forest and Carbon Challenge, with recommendations for how to produce enough food without clearing forests and other carbon-rich lands, such as savannahs and wetlands.
The report explores several directions for policymakers, private companies and multi-stakeholder “commodity roundtables” that if implemented today, would help the world address climate and food challenges in the next 50 years.
This report stems from the 2011 San Diego Conference: The Role of Commodity Roundtables & Avoided Forest Conversion in Subnational REDD+ Agriculture, Food Security & Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Accounting. Learn more about the workshop here: www.nwf.org/reddworkshop.
Food, Fuel, or Forests? Charting A Responsible U.S. Role in Global Palm Oil Expansion
National Wildlife Federation released a report warning that the increased demand for palm oil—which makes its way into the U.S. in a myriad of food and cosmetic products—may lead to further loss of tropical forests and create new greenhouse gas emissions if palm oil expansion is not managed sustainably.
Download the full report here (PDF 9MB)
Palm oil has overtaken soybean and canola as the world’s largest source of vegetable oils. Over the next decade, global demand for vegetable oils and biofuels are expected to rise between 50% and 40% respectively.
However, palm oil expansion has been linked to significant increases in tropical deforestation, social conflict, and emissions of greenhouse gases that result from the clearing and draining of tropical forests and peatlands.
While the majority of plantations are currently in Southeast Asia, the palm oil industry is aggressively branching out into Latin America and Africa.
It is estimated that up to 50% of packaged retail food products now contain palm oil, and U.S. demand may rise sharply in the years ahead. This report sets out the steps U.S. companies can take to play an active role in improving the environmental and social standards of the palm oil industry.
Developments in Brazil's Amazon Cattle Industry
Released at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, From Major Driver of Deforestation and Greenhouse Gas Emissions to Forest Guardians? New Developments in Brazil's Amazon Cattle Industry looks at Brazil's cattle industry and the connection to deforestation.
Download the full report here (PDF)
Working Towards Market-Based Solutions
National Wildlife Federation is working with international producers, retailers and consumers to develop innovative standards that will eliminate tropical deforestation from major commodity supply chains for:
- NWF is an active member of the Brazilian Working Group for Sustainable Livestock (Grupo de Trabalho Pecuária Sustentável).
- NWF's international Workshop on Solutions to Deforestation for Cattle Expansion in the Brazilian Amazon brought together for the first time major industry actors, government and non-governmental organizations, to agree on the key building blocks for responsible cattle production in Brazil.
- NWF advises the Leather Working Group on the inclusion of forest protection measures in their environmental standards for leather production.
Tropical Forest Products
Our Other Initiatives
- Introducing a risk reporting tool, in collaboration with the Forest Footprint Disclosure Project, that enables major corporations to measure and disclose financial and reputational risks to their operations, posed by their dependence on commodities sourced from recently cleared rainforests.
- Producing a series of white papers, or "think pieces," that analyze the problem of deforestation for commodity agriculture and propose solutions. The summary of our first white paper: "From Source to Sink" (pdf), documents the tropical forest impacts of major agricultural production, explores the effectiveness of "sustainability standards" and certification systems, and proposes ways to provide financial incentives for production without deforestation.
- Designing pilot projects that demonstrate the potential for "sustainable commodities" markets to reduce agricultural impacts on tropical forests, and foster best practices.