The Accountability Framework initiative will organize a webinar to help people learn more about the framework. An overview of the Accountability Framework's principles and guidance related to setting commitments, taking action, and demonstrating progress will be presented.
The Accountability Framework is a set of common norms and guidance for establishing, implementing, and monitoring responsible supply chain commitments, aiming to help companies and others to set commitments, take action, demonstrate progress, and support broader positive impacts. The Accountability Framework initiative is led by a diverse group of civil society representatives including Forest People Program, Greenpeace, WRI, WWF, etc.
In the recent Forest forum meeting we shared Complicit in Corruption - a recent report written by non-profit Earthsight, highlighting the widespread corruption in Ukraine's forests, and revealing how illegality permeates the timber supply chain in Ukraine from harvest to export.
Earthsight spent two years running field and undercover investigations in Ukraine. Approximately 70% of Ukraine's timber exports enter the EU and Earthsight's investigations indicate that 40% of this timber is being illegally harvest or traded. The report also claims that a significant volume of illegally harvested timber has received the FSC stamp - the former chief of one of the largest timber producing state-forest enterprises admitted to Earthsight he had found it easy to circumvent FSC checks.
A report by WRI shows ongoing deforestation in an oil palm concession in Papua, Indonesia, operated by a subsidiary of South Korea’s POSCO Daewoo. The company has responded by saying its operations in Papua are legal and fully permitted.
Concerns over deforestation by POSCO Daewoo have prompted other companies to say they will not allow its palm oil into their supply chains. These include big-name brands such as Clorox, Colgate Palmolive, IKEA, L’Oreal, Mars and Unilever. POSCO Daewoo has issued a temporary moratorium on land clearing in its Papua concession and hired a consultant to advise it on how to proceed with its operations there.
The UK parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights has just published its Human Rights and Business 2017 report calling for “stronger legislation, stronger enforcement and clearer routes to justice” to protect workers’ human rights. ETI gave written and oral evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights for the report – and helped facilitate the committee’s visits to Turkish and Leicester garment supply chains, which were used as case studies.
A report on the activities of the Association of Forest Communities of Petén (ACOFOP) in Guatemala show the positive potential impact of community based forest management. The members of ACOFOP include small furniture manufacturers sell products approved by the Rainforest Alliance.
The article refers to a report published last month by the World Resources Institute which investigated both the Guatemalan concessions and a similar model found in Brazil’s indigenous communities in the Amazon. The WRI estimated that Guatemala stood to benefit up to $800 million over the next two decades through community management of forest concessions.
1. Zero deforestation commitments. 2015 may be the year that many of the zero deforestation commitments are actually implemented.
2. Joko Widodo’s forest commitments. As Indonesia’s new president takes on the challenge of reforming the forestry sector, look out for greater scrutiny of concession licensees, as well as a crack-down on forestry-related corruption.
3. The Brazilian Amazon. There are concerns that Brazil’s current downward deforestation trajectory may not last.
4. Will Paris product a binding climate framework? Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation is expected to have a central role in the climate talks in Paris at the end of the year.
5. Where are the new deforestation hotspots? Data from the WRI suggests that deforestation may be rising in several countries, including Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Ecuador and Ghana amongst others. 2015 will also uncover new studies and tools that will help better quantify change in forest cover.
6. Falling commodity prices. Lower prices reduce the profitability of converting rainforests for palm oil plantations. On the other hand, companies may be less likely to adopt environmental measures if they have less cash on hand.
7. Myanmar. As Myanmar opens up further to foreign investors, concerns about the fate of the country’s forests will rise.
8. Dams in the Amazon. Indigenous groups and environmentalists are ready to fight against Brazil’s hydro projects in the Tapajos basin.
9. RSPO and zero deforestation. If the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) does move towards zero deforestation it has a critical tool in place to do so: last year members were required to submit the GPS coordinates of their concessions.
10. Jurisdictional initiatives. Sub-national efforts to develop forest-friendly policies and initiatives will move forward in 2015.
A new report, titled Disrupting the Global Commodity Business, published by the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA) argues that a global transition could enable the world to produce more food, fuel and fibre without destroying more forests. Chris Elliot, the Executive Director of CLUA, writes: “we must not only shift commodity production away from native forests, but also protect these forests by increasing recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples and rural communities to manage them”. The report also highlights the role that activism has played in disrupting business-as-usual approaches to commodity production. However, it emphasizes that lasting change will come in moving from “disruption” to “transformation” of how commodities are produced. To the end, the report focuses on two key areas – supply chain management and commodity governance, illustrating the ingredients needed to fundamentally shift big business toward less damaging practices while at the same time supporting local communities.
Kenya has recently seized a shipment of $13 million worth of rosewood illegally harvested in Madagascar and bound for Hong Kong. The writer highlights the trend of illegal shipments through Hong Kong and notes that as neither Hong Kong nor China has laws banning illegal timber, border authorities cannot intercept it unless it is CITES-listed. According to estimates only 16 per cent of China’s processed timber is then exported, so there is a huge domestic market that is not subject to regulations preventing the use of illegally-harvested timber.
A WRI analysis of the pulp and paper sector, which is the third-largest energy user in US manufacturing, found that it could cost-effectively reduce its energy use in the Midwest by 25 per cent through the use of existing technologies. Against the US Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program, nearly two-thirds of Midwest mills fall short of the national average for energy performance. Total annual energy costs could be reduced by $120 million by reducing process energy requirements, capturing waste heat and increasing efficient on-site energy use. This could also have a knock-on effect of boosting production and increasing jobs. The report highlights the ISO 50001 standard which helps companies to introduce and systematically track facility energy performance against targets.
PEFC has cleared Forestry Tasmania of unsustainable harvesting practices and re-certified the company for another three years. The audit came after allegations that the company was logging native forest at twice the rate of sustainable yield. The outcome was met with criticism from Kim Booth of the Australian Green Party who said, “the PEFC auditing that's done on Australian forestry standard harvesting methods is not worth the paper it's written on because the market's rejected it and that's the essential problem that Forestry Tasmania has fallen into”.
Press release by WRI for their new Forest Legality Risk Information Tool. The risk tool provides details about where forest products come from and what issues a buyer might encounter. The tool allows searching by country or species to find specific information. Future additions to the tool will provide interactive supply chain profiling tools, such as decision trees.