Each week we’ll provide you with a round-up of news, information and happenings on a different topic effecting the environment including deforestation, climate change, sustainability, water stewardship, recycling and more.

This week, we’re focusing on Deforestation. World Resources Institute (WRI) estimates that, 30% of global forest cover has been cleared, another 20% has been degraded. Most of the rest has been fragmented, leaving only about 15% intact.

The Round-Up

Plant trees while you search the web – Ecosia is the search engine that plants trees with its ad revenue. Share Ecosia and show friends how they can do good just by searching the web. https://info.ecosia.org/what

Deforestation rises with incomes in developing economies – by John C. Cannon – Economists have for the first time shown a definitive link between rising incomes and a corresponding uptick in deforestation using satellite mapping data. For a long time, economists have assumed that this more-or-less predictable pattern exists in developing economies, but it’s been difficult to prove. “Until now, nobody had found a way of testing it empirically in a convincing way,” said Jesús Crespo Cuaresma, an economist at the International Institute for Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Vienna University of Economics and Business. The researchers also expected that reforestation would occur in richer countries as income levels rose, but their research did not bear that out. https://news.mongabay.com/2017/01/deforestation-rises-with-incomes-in-developing-economies/

Ceres and the PRI Join Forces to Tackle Tropical Deforestation – Ceres and the PRI announced a new partnership to tackle widespread, global deforestation driven by escalating production of beef, soy and timber, focusing initially on South America.  Through a new, joint investor group, the two organizations will support global institutional investors pressing food and timber companies to eliminate deforestation and other related concerns, including forced labor and land rights disputes from their supply chains. The announcement was made at an investor event at the United Nations climate negotiations in Morocco, formally called the Conference of the Parties, or COP22. Deforestation is a key topic at COP22, with an estimated 12 million hectares of forest being destroyed annually from human activity, or the equivalent to 36 U.S. football fields every minute. Cutting down forests releases carbon into the atmosphere, and an estimated 10 to 15 percent of global carbon emissions are produced annually from global deforestation, largely for agricultural and timber production. “Beyond the enormous environmental impacts of biodiversity loss, climate change and eroded landscapes that are less climate-resilient, deforestation poses real financial risks to investors with agribusinesses in their portfolios,” said Dawn M. Martin, who spoke at the event and is the chief operating officer of Ceres, which coordinates the $15 trillion Investor Network on Climate Risk. “Working collaboratively will enable Ceres and PRI to achieve far greater impact at stemming deforestation than each of our organizations could achieve alone.” Among the activities planned by the new global investor group over the next two years: Map and develop a set of indicators for evaluating beef, soy and timber companies’ sourcing policies and their impact on deforestation (e.g., traceability, sustainability goals and policies, transparency, adherence to certification schemes); Benchmark 50 to 60 companies in the beef, soy, and timber industries against the indicators. Based on benchmarking results, engage with low-scoring companies (including through shareholder resolutions) to press them to adopt sustainable sourcing policies. Engage in public policy advocacy at the national and international levels. http://3blmedia.com/News/Ceres-and-PRI-Join-Forces-Tackle-Tropical-Deforestation

Deforestation Free Funds is a search platform that enables people to find out if their money, in the form of individual investments or an employer-provided 401(k), may be causing tropical deforestation through investment in companies that produce, consume, or finance palm oil – the fastest growing cause of rainforest destruction today. Some companies are making real efforts to reduce the harm that this industry causes – and the goal of Deforestation Free Funds is to help make this happen. By driving transparency in the industry’s financing, we hope to encourage policies and practices that bring about real change. https://www.deforestationfreefunds.org/faq#about

The New York Declaration on Forests – is a non-legally binding political declaration that grew out of dialogue among governments, companies and civil society, spurred by the UN Secretary- General’s Climate Summit. For the first time, world leaders endorse a global timeline to cut natural forest loss in half by 2020, and strive to end it by 2030. It also calls for restoring forests and croplands of an area larger than India. Meeting these goals would cut between 4.5 and 8.8 billion tons of carbon pollution every year – about as much as the current emissions of the United States. The Declaration is endorsed by dozens of governments, [30] of the world’s biggest companies, and [more than 50] influential civil society and indigenous organizations. The associated voluntary Action Agenda (section 2) serves as a guide to governments, companies, and organizations regarding the diverse set of actions that can achieve these transformational goals. http://forestdeclaration.org/summary/

 

Jeff Foote

Jeff Foote is Executive Vice President, Sustainability at TreeZero. He’s also an investor. He has helped hundreds of organizations, both large and small, successfully incorporate sustainability strategies into core business functions. Jeff has traveled to all seven continents working to protect and preserve the environment. Jeff’s mission is to help organizations and individuals use fewer resources to sell more, more profitably.