Why feeding the planet doesn’t have to mean sacrificing our forests

UN News Forests 2018

Forest policies in Rwanda, United States and Gambia win UN-backed awards (UN, 2011)

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Fraser Thompson, Director, AlphaBeta

Between 2015 to 2025, around 750 million people are expected to move into cities worldwide, contributing to the burgeoning consuming class – and this urbanization in emerging economies like China, India, and Brazil will be the dominant driver of economic growth over the coming decade.

To illustrate, consumer spending as a share of China’s GDP is expected to surge from around 36% in in 2008 to 49% by 2030.

Similarly in India, the middle class doubled in size over an eight-year period from 300 million in 2004 to 600 million in 2012. This growth will also have an impact on the amount and type of food people consume. Developing economies – including China, India, other Asian countries and Africa – are projected to account for 35% of the future global increase in food demand, as population growth in these countries will coincide with a dietary shift towards more animal protein-based.

These trends, coupled with unsustainable agricultural production practices, could have an adverse environmental impact if left unchecked. This is especially the case for deforestation-linked commodities such as beef, soybean, and palm oil. At present, major emerging market importers (China and India) and market producer-consumers (Brazil and Indonesia) together account for up to 40% of global demand for some of these commodities. This share is expected to increase further by 2025.

AlphaBeta estimates that a ‘business-as-usual’ production scenario could lead to an increase in deforestation attributed to these countries from 855,000 hectares in 2015 to 990,000 hectares by 2025. To put this number into perspective, this is equivalent to an area the size of Jamaica – or almost 1 million football fields – being deforested annually .

Image: TFA2020: Emerging Market Consumers and Deforestation: Risks and Opportunities of growing demand

However, the increasing demand for forest commodities need not come at the cost of more deforestation if a conscientious effort is made to source sustainably. Focusing our attention on China – where the overall demand for deforestation-linked commodities is high – there is a range of actions which stakeholders can pursue to further promote sustainable sourcing. These findings were based on a workshop in Beijing conducted by AlphaBeta, the Paulson Institute and TFA2020 with several prominent members from international organizations, the private sector and government think-tanks.

First, participants highlighted the vital role of governments in developing guidelines and a definition of ‘sustainable sourcing’ to which businesses can refer. A promising initiative in this regard is China’s Timber Legality Verification System, which will regulate the legality of timber and timber products within the country. The system sets out requirements for regulating timber products at the forest management level and throughout the chain of custody.

Second, industry – particularly the financial sector – can play a vital role in developing more sophisticated risk models that take account of unsustainable sourcing approaches and provide incentives for more sustainable practices. There is also a clear need for the private sector to take the lead in establishing joint industry commitments related to sustainable sourcing. One such initiative is the Chinese Sustainable Meat Declaration, a commitment by the Chinese Meat Association and businesses to promote sustainable meat production, trade and consumption.

Finally, there is a clear role for civil society in helping to educate consumers about the importance of sustainability and to help importers build their capabilities around sustainable sourcing. For example, organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund have had a promising impact by using celebrities, like Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, to promote sustainability in pulp and paper in China.

Innovations in digital technologies could play an enabling role to support the efforts of various stakeholders. For example, blockchain technology could be used to track exported products, improving traceability and ensuring that the entire batch has been sourced from sustainable jurisdictions. Also, consumer insights via Internet of Things technology could help e-commerce companies engage in targeted messaging about specific deforestation products, thereby improving consumer awareness. Finally, precision-farming technology which accounts for the variability of soil attributes could boost production efficiency and reduce the need for more land.

Emerging economies play a vital role in ensuring sustainable supply chains. Together with various stakeholders from the private sector and non-governmental organizations, governments in these markets can shift to more sustainable approaches to consumption.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Taxation: Commission refers Germany to the Court for its failure to apply EU rules on VAT for farmers

Can self-charging batteries keep us connected for ever? A young scientist explains

Europe plans to send satellites into space to monitor CO2 emissions

Much more than a ‘lifeline’ for millions of households, remittances can spur global growth, says UN agency

Strength in unity: Commission makes recommendations for the EU’s next strategic agenda 2019-2024

‘Maintain calm’ and ‘exercise patience’ UN envoy urges, as Nigeria heads to polls

10 expert predictions for the next decade in Chinese AI

Here’s what a Korean boy band can teach us about globalization 4.0

The importance of pre-departure training for a better understanding of global health issues

South Eurozone urgently needs fairer distribution of taxation burden

At the edge of humanity: refugee healthcare in Greece and the EU

ECB will be the catalyst of Eurozone’s reunification

With potential to boost profits by up to 20 per cent, a woman’s place is at work, says UN labour agency

Cédric in India

Northern Ireland: Parliament wants to secure post-Brexit regional funding

We must stop a devastating ‘battle to the end’ in southwest Syria, declares UN envoy

Erasmus+: a turning point in the lives of 5 million European students

For Youth Rights: steps forward for better protection.

‘Climate change is the battle of my life’, UN chief tells students living on the frontline in Fiji

Eurozone: Negative statistics bring deflation and recession closer

Public opinion misled by the Commission on air transport safety

With 10 million Yemenis ‘one step away from famine’, donors pledge $2.6 billion

Afghanistan: Bring ‘architects’ of latest ‘appalling’ suicide bombing to justice, says deputy UN mission chief

Asking for more restriction on intra EU immigration: Unproductive and politically dangerous

COP21 Breaking News_07 December: “The world is expecting more from you than half-measures”, UN Secretary General Bank Ki-moon cries out from Paris

Commission concludes that an Excessive Deficit Procedure is no longer warranted for Italy at this stage

FROM THE FIELD: Keeping Morocco’s indigenous culture and conservation in balance

Zuckerberg, a paella, and the mighty EU questionnaires that would stop Whatsapp acquisition by Facebook?

UN refugee agency presses States to aid 49 refugees stranded on Mediterranean

Stricter rules and tougher sanctions for market manipulation and financial fraud

The Brussels bureaucracy blocks the Youth Guarantee scheme

Three steps we must take to secure the future of our forests

SMEs and micro firms sinking together with south Eurozone

Fleeing Venezuela: MEPs to probe humanitarian conditions in Colombia and Brazil

Posting of workers: final vote on equal pay and working conditions

Children are so hungry in one British town they are eating from bins

These cities score an ‘A’ for environmental action – but hundreds more are falling behind

Mergers: Commission fines Canon €28 million for partially implementing its acquisition of Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation before notification and merger control approval

How universities can become a platform for social change

The Government of China and UNIDO partner to develop technical guidelines for standards of small hydropower development

UN Security Council condemns Taliban offensive as a blow against ‘sustainable peace’

5 lessons for the future success of virtual and augmented reality

Drawing scenarios for drifting Britain; elections or May’s deadlock?

Deeper reforms in Korea will ensure more inclusive and sustainable growth

India is a latecomer to AI. Here’s how it plans to catch up

Mine action is at ‘the nexus’ of peace, security and development: UN official

The Banking Union may lead to a Germanic Europe

How microfinance develops decent work

FROM THE FIELD: What do you want to be when you grow up? One day I will…

Alarm over violent attacks on lawmakers, opposition in Malawi, ahead of elections

EU to give more power to national antitrust authorities in a bid to secure regulatory fines

After Brexit and Grexit, Brussels to deal with Poloust

How do you get people to trust self-driving vehicles? This company is giving them ‘virtual eyes’

IMF: The near-term outlook for the U.S. economy is one of strong growth and job creation

Pledging ongoing UN support during visit to cyclone-hit areas, Guterres praises resilience of Mozambicans

We have the tools to beat climate change. Now we need to legislate

The Sino-American trade conflict may be resolved soon

EU to present a “hefty” exit bill to the UK moments before Brexit negotiations

The EU’s trading partners: US, China and the rest

Luxembourg has achieved high levels of growth and well-being but must do more to preserve and share prosperity

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s