Deforestation: Those with the most resources do little or nothing to protect forests

The commitment of more than a hundred countries presented at COP26, backed by public and private funds, covers more than 85% of the world’s forests (about 3.7 billion hectares), but high rates of deforestation remain. Photo: AFP.

A few weeks after the COP26 climate conference, in which more than 100 countries pledged to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030, large companies and financial organizations with the greatest amount of resources to contribute to this endeavor continue to act without taking taking into account those promises and the real need to protect and restore the planet’s forests.

The NGO Global Canopy (in English, tree or forest canopy or tapestry) reviewed the data of 350 companies accused of being the most responsible for deforestation, directly or indirectly, and also analyzed 150 banks, investment and pension funds that finance those companies.

According to the analysis, one in three companies studied did not make any commitment to protect forests and 72% of them have some objective, but this does not extend to all their products or activities related to forest clearing.

Some 130 countries, representing 85% of the world’s forests, signed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use at COP26, pledging to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030, it was released at the climate conference held in late 2021.

By the way, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, said on his official Twitter account that “signing the declaration is the easy part. It is essential that it is implemented now ”.

Some companies have targets for specific products, particularly soy, beef, or leather, but “they don’t provide evidence on how they’re going to go live,” Global Canopy stressed.

In addition, “very few companies recognize the climate risks caused by deforestation and even fewer include their supply chain in the assessments.”

If the financial entities are analyzed, 93 of the 150 analyzed do not have a deforestation policy that covers the companies and investments most dependent on projects that affect forests.

Only about twenty banks or investment firms have a policy to analyze the progress made on deforestation.

“Curbing deforestation-fueling agriculture to cut emissions by two and repair biodiversity destruction by 2030 is not an option, but a necessity for companies committed to carbon neutral credibility,” commented Nigel Topping, former president of the climate NGO We Mean Business.

“Without this, we will not be able to limit warming to 1.5 ° C” compared to the pre-industrial era, he warned.

(With information from AFP and UN News)

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