On 16 September 2021, after collecting international best practices in the fight against deforestation, SfC Swiss member Ethos has published an Engagement Paper to initially engage seven multinational companies particularly exposed to deforestation risks. “We want to encourage companies to implement concrete and targeted measures to stop the destruction of forests”, says Matthias Narr, Head Engagement International at Ethos Foundation.
Every year, millions of hectares of forest are destroyed to be transformed into pasture, fields for agricultural crops or even mines. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, around 10 million hectares of forest per year were cleared between 2015-2020, an area approximately the size of Iceland. Forest degradation is responsible for about 15% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions and is a risk to our planet’s biodiversity and ecosystems. This can result in financial and reputational risk for companies that are directly or indirectly involved in forest destruction.
“Companies concerned must act now and adopt measures to eradicate deforestation”, continues Matthias Narr. The Engagement Paper presents six expectations that Ethos has towards companies and requires, among others, to establish a “no deforestation policy”and commit to full traceability in the supply chain, supporting voluntary sustainability certification.
The seven companies that Ethos will initially engage are active along the beef and soy value chains and are particularly exposed to the problem of deforestation in the Amazon: Ahold Delhaize, Archer Daniels Midland, BRF Brasil Foods, Bunge, Carrefour, J Sainsbury, JBS.
Ethos will engage the companies on behalf of the 71 members of its Engagement Pool International (€198bn AUM) and of SfC – Shareholders for Change (€25bn AUM).
Another member of SfC, Bank für Kirche und Caritas (BKC), has been engaging the Brazilian government since the beginning of 2021. Together with almost 100 Catholic institutions from 18 countries, BKC has sent detailed requests to the government, asking to protect the rainforest and indigenous population.