Travis Perkins has one of "most improved" deforestation policy, says CDP Forests

A record number of large companies, including Travis Perkins, pledged to identify and halt deforestation in their supply chains this year, according to a major new report. Travis Perkins is identified as one of the 11 companies with the "most improved" deforestation policy in in the past 12 months.

According to the new CDP Forests report, released yesterday, 19 leading companies, including Kellogg’s, L’Oreal, Danone, Dunkin’ and Krispy Kreme, pledged to source 100 per cent deforestation-free palm oil for their products this year.

Other companies, such as Cargill, which have already pledged to source sustainable palm oil, extended their commitments to cover other commodities, such as sugar, soy, cattle and cocoa.

Katie McCoy, head of CDP’s forests programme, said the report showed that more firms were waking up to the business case for acting on deforestation. The vast majority - 90 per cent - of the 152 major companies that CDP surveyed said they did now recognise the commercial opportunities associated with shifting to sustainably sourced commodities. These opportunities were identified as reduced operational risks, as well as improved reputations with customers.

McCoy added that the growing number of supply companies, such as Asia Pulp and Paper and Wilmar International, that have committed to end deforestation, has made it easier for their blue-chip customers to make similar commitments.

However, she also noted the inconsistencies in deforestation commitments across different commodities. Timber and palm oil remain the most popular areas for companies to make zero deforestation commitments, with more than 80% of businesses surveyed having policies covering the sustainability of these key commodities.

In contrast, just over half – 53 per cent – of companies have sustainable soy policies, and a third still have no policies for addressing the sustainability of biofuels.

Moreover, while many companies have made impressive commitments this year, McCoy said it was crucial that they now took the steps to deliver on those pledges.

The report argues that making a forest-related commitment is just the first step, and should then be followed by risks assessments, the setting of specific interim targets, measures to deliver on those targets, and then transparent reporting on progress to demonstrate continued leadership on the issue.

McCoy said there were still just a handful of companies, such as Unilever and APP, which had pioneered policies that could be classified as reaching the "leadership" stage.

At a glance:

The report identifies 11 companies across 11 sectors as having the "most improved" deforestation policy in in the past 12 months. They are:

Travis Perkins (industrials and autos)

Wilmar International (agricultural products)

Delhaize Group (food and staples retailing)

Sodexo (hotels, restaurants and leisure)

The Hain Celestial Group (household and personal products)

Klabin (materials)

British Sky Broadcasting (media)

JBS (packaged food)

Williams-Sonoma (retail)

LVMH (textiles and apparel)

SAS (transport)

This article, including the image, has been adapted from an article published in Business Green