• Continued deforestation and ecosystem degradation pose major economic, cultural and environmental threats to tropical forests and the planet.
  • The Tropical Forest Commodities UpLink Challenge called for innovative and systemic approaches to global production and trade of agricultural commodities, that deliver social and economic benefits for local communities.
  • 5 Top UpLink Innovators have now been announced, and will receive support to scale their impact and meet experts who can accelerate their ideas.

Over the past 20 years, more than 60 million hectares of primary forest have been lost in the tropics, equivalent to an area the size of France, with an increasing demand for most forest risk commodities being driven by a higher per capita consumption. Forests are increasingly prominent on the global agenda due to the critical role they play in global food and trade systems, as well as to biodiversity and livelihoods. We urgently need to scale up solutions that accelerate the transition towards more sustainable land use practices around agriculture.

In June 2021, the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) and UpLink launched the Tropical Forest Commodities Challenge to call for innovative and systemic approaches to global production and trade of agricultural commodities, that deliver social and economic benefits for local communities.

The Challenge was designed and run in collaboration with the FACT Dialogue and UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021, run in partnership with supporting partners Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Stockholm Environment Institute, WA’IK, and Wilmar. It received 82 submissions that were carefully reviewed and assessed by a community of experts from TFA and its partners to elect a cohort of 5 Top UpLink Innovators.

Justin Adams, the Executive Director of the Tropical Forest Alliance said, “the demand for agricultural commodities has risen by 50% in the past two decades and is growing every day. These winning ideas highlight the hope that existing solutions - if scaled up, can provide pathways for meeting this growing demand while reducing deforestation at the same time, paving ways to create a Forest Positive future.”

Katie McCoy, Team Leader from Partnerships for Forests, said “valuing our tropical forests and sustainable land use are critical factors to averting the climate and biodiversity crises. We need innovative, inclusive solutions to scale rapidly in the coming years – and the people to see those solutions through”.

Pablo Montoya Dávila, Sustainability Director from Grupo Éxito, highlights that “the awarded projects pass through a rigorous process that ensures quality. If these initiatives succeed then all of us, as human beings, will be better off”.

Over the coming months, the Top Innovators will have an opportunity to share and learn from each other, plus TFA and UpLink will work extensively with the group to scale their impact by promoting their work on our social media platforms, presenting them at our events and introducing them to experts and potential funders who can accelerate their ideas – notably, all Top Innovators will be present at COP26 in Glasgow to join the conservations on how to tackle climate change on a global scale.

Meet the Top Innovators of the Tropical Forest Commodities Challenge:

Amazonia Impact Ventures connect investors with impactful projects on the ground, directly contributing to forest conservation, reducing deforestation, protecting biodiversity, restoring degraded lands and improving the livelihoods of people living in the Amazon.

High Carbon Stock Approach aims to end commodity-driven tropical deforestation by providing land managers with practical, credible, and inclusive tools for land use planning. It identifies natural forest areas in the humid tropics for conservation through an integrated land use plan and allows degraded non-forest land to be developed for agricultural or plantation commodities while ensuring the rights and livelihoods of local peoples are respected.

The Top Innovators of the Tropical Forest Commodities Challenge on UpLink.

Koltiva is a global software-as-a-service solutions company that makes agri-tech supply chains sustainable, reliable, and transparent. The KoltiTrace application ecosystem is digitizing agribusinesses and farmers to transition to sustainable production and traceable sourcing.

PemPem empowers smallholder farmers and traders in key commodity supply chains to become more sustainable and profitable. They build mobile supply chain management software for micro-enterprises in rural areas, introducing practical technologies to promote sustainability and bring greater access to the value chain.

Sustainable Farming Solutions supplements restoration and conservation goals by taking on projects that restore the potential of land, watershed, and forests while assisting rural farmers with the establishment of sustainable farming systems that are integrated to meet livelihood needs in the context of a changing climate.

Do you have an idea to help our forests? Would you like to offer help to one of our Innovators? Join UpLink now.