Many of the world’s agriculture commodity companies have expressed a recognition of the damage caused by unsustainable policies – and hundreds of companies in agricultural supply chains have signed pledges to avoid deforestation, destruction of carbon-rich peatlands and exploitation of local communities. These “NDPE” pledges (No Deforestation, No Peatland, No Exploitation) now cover some of the world’s largest firms. But commitments require action.
Forest Heroes has augmented our previous Green Tigers report to go beyond the promises made by 26 companies – 21 in the Southeast Asian palm oil sector previously covered by Green Tigers, and five in the Latin American soy sector which we have named after a New World cat, the “Green Jaguars.” Our goal with our Green Cats report is to shine a light on their actions, examining publicly available data to find gaps between policies and progress. By comparing these two critical sectors at the nexus of food production, deforestation and climate, we have been able to learn some interesting lessons about what works, and what doesn’t.
South American soy production is heavily concentrated among four companies – Archer Daniel Midlands, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus. A fifth, Brazilian company Grupo Magi, is also a major player. The Southeast Asian palm oil market, by contrast, is significantly more fragmented, with 30 companies each managing a land bank of a hundred thousand to a million hectares mostly spread across Indonesia and Malaysia. While our analysis compares these industries side-by-side wherever possible, we adjusted several criteria to account for unique aspects of the production and geographies of the industries.
Note: This report is based on analysis of data that was accurate as of September 2016. Since then, many companies have set new policies including Sime Darby and IOI Corporation. Forest Heroes will soon release a new scorecard based on similar criteria, with a focus on human rights.