One of the drivers of climate change is deforestation – the loss of natural forest and vegetation as a result of conversion to agricultural or other non-forest land use for instance. Additionally, deforestation is often linked to other ecological and social issues like biodiversity loss and a breach of social standards of local people, if the original inhabitants of the forests are forced to leave their homes.
Deforestation is an important topic for the food sector as it is mainly driven by the production of soy, palm oil, meat as well as paper and wood. METRO Wholesale trades products that are made of or contain these commodities. As a wholesaler and as a part of the supply chain of products we source, we want to transform the way how these critical commodities are sourced, and we want to take action to end deforestation. This also contributes to the sustainability of our customers’ business as we enable our customers to make more sustainable choices when they buy with us.
We acknowledge the global frameworks of the Sustainable Development Goals and the United Nations Global Compact, and our approach towards deforestation-free supply chains builds on collaboration in the spirit of Sustainable Development Goal 17. We have set commitments individually in dedicated sourcing policies on soy, palm oil, paper & wood and on meat, but we believe that because of the complexity and interdependency of supply chains, only common, collaborative initiatives can lead to sustainable effects and that only then our lever is equally effective. This is why we collaborate with other actors along the supply chains of commodities like soy, palm oil, meat, paper and wood, as well as with other wholesalers and retailers, and representatives of governments and NGOs.
Important elements of our collaborative initiatives are our memberships, actions and commitments around zero deforestation within the Consumer Goods Forum and its Coalition of Action, the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) of the World Economic Forum, the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) and the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as well as our Statement of Support for the Cerrado Manifesto and certification systems such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC ©) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). By means of these networks, best practices can be shared, and greater transparency of supply chains is supported by introducing new technologies supporting this. Another factor is the backing of a wider spread of good practices via benchmarks, for instance by aligning the requirements of several third-party certification standards.
A learning from our ongoing activities and the experiences of the Consumer Goods Forum is, that action is needed on different levels within supply chains and with various actions at the same time: working with farmers, producers, traders and manufacturers to enable them to meet the requirements are important steps to reach deforestation free supply chains, and so are certification schemes. But we also need to constantly look at the specific area where those actors operate and at the environmental, social, economic and governmental circumstances of that area, otherwise actions will not bring the wished for long-term success.
In order to check if what we do is meeting the expectations of the market we openly disclose our activities, for example in the CDP Forest questionnaire and within the Consumer Goods Forum Forest Positive Coalition, in addition we learn from the assessment of independent third parties.
What we do regarding the most relevant commodities: