Stopping commodity-related deforestation

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The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) brings together governments, the private-sector and civil society organizations to work together to remove deforestation linked to the production of commodities such as palm oil, beef, soy, and pulp and paper.

The challenge

Recent studies suggest that between 53% and 80% of global deforestation is due to agriculture, with the largest part caused by commercial agriculture for a handful of commodities in just a few geographic locations. Forests are also crucial for livelihoods, food security and water security.

Rising demand for food and consumer products is accelerating deforestation, particularly in tropical areas. This demand is forecast to grow. It is estimated that 70% more food calories will be needed to feed a world population of 9 billion by 2050, while demand for wood products will also continue to increase.

The strategy

TFA 2020 is a global public-private partnership that aims to remove deforestation from four global commodity supply chains – palm oil, beef, soy, and pulp and paper.

Founded in 2012, it fosters cross-sector collaboration among more than 110 members working in Latin America, West Africa, Central Africa and South-East Asia. The alliance includes businesses, governments, civil society, indigenous people and communities and international organizations.

TFA 2020 is funded by the governments of the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. It is hosted at the World Economic Forum, and forms part of one of the 14 Forum System Initiatives:

System Initiative
Shaping the Future of
Environment and Natural Resource Security

The System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security aims to find new ways to protect and value the global environmental commons. It does this by convening leading experts, innovators, investors, businesses, policy makers and civil society to support interventions that flip existing norms to create systemic change that reverses negative environmental trends.

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The impact

TFA 2020 launched the Marrakesh Declaration for the Sustainable Development of the Oil Palm Sector in Africa at the Marrakesh Climate Change Conference (COP22) in 2016. The declaration saw seven African governments (Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Liberia, Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone) pledge to protect their tropical forests by shifting to sustainable palm oil production. Together, the seven countries represent 70% of Africa’s tropical forests.

TFA 2020 insight and analysis is helping the international community consider investing in systemic change, rather than in separate projects. The analysis includes The Role of the Financial Sector in Deforestation-free Supply Chains report published in January 2017.

Meanwhile, the findings of the 2016 New York Declaration on Forest Progress Assessment report triggered calls for a global public-private agenda to help all stakeholders coordinate their support for addressing tropical deforestation until 2020. In response, the Commodities and Forests Agenda 2020, launched during the New York Climate Week 2017, summarizes the areas in which most urgent action is needed to eliminate deforestation from global agricultural supply chains.