Slow Road to Sustainability. The sourcing of soft commodities by Consumer Goods Forum members. Report on progress

Submission date
Watson, S.
Schouten, W.
Hesp, S.
Runci, A.
Willems, M.
Version number

In this report, WWF reviews the policies and performance of member companies of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) regarding the sustainability of their sourcing of key soft commodities – and finds much more needs to be done. For sustainability to become the norm, the CGF member companies urgently need to map their supply chains, engage with their supply chains and industry sectors, commit publicly and unambiguously to credibly certified sourcing of their key commodities, and improve transparency by disclosing progress against their timebound sustainable sourcing plans. Soft commodities – derived from forestry, farming and fisheries – are vital for feeding, clothing, and helping to fuel the world. However, their inefficient and unsustainable production can significantly harm communities and key ecosystems. Common impacts include biodiversity loss, deforestation, environmental degradation, watershed disruption, climate change and social conflict. Demand for soft commodities is booming, driven by the world's increasing population, growing purchasing power (especially in emerging economies), urbanization, changing dietary preferences and demand for biofuels, among other factors. We'll need to grow more food in the next 40 years than we have in the past 8,000 combined to feed the global population – in other words, 70 per cent more food by 2050, according to UN estimates.1 To meet this demand – and avoid devastating levels of deforestation and forest degradation, overfishing, overexploitation of other natural resources, water scarcity and hazardous climate change2 – we must find a more sustainable way to extract and produce soft commodities. WWF has prioritized making 14 soft commodities more sustainable (see figure 1). They play key roles in meeting humanity's growing demands for food, fibre and fuel – but at the same time can have ruinous impacts on communities and are major drivers of biodiversity and vital ecosystem loss around the world. To achieve sustainability on Earth, it's critical that all stakeholders — including companies, governments, communities, non- governmental organizations (NGOs) and consumers – align in recognizing the impacts of commodity production and find ways to balance production with maintaining essential forests, land, water and ecosystem services. Introduction 6 SLOW ROAD TO SUSTAINABILITY This comes with many challenges. These include a lack of awareness of the issues among some stakeholders; trade flows shifting toward markets that are less sensitive to sustainability; governments failing to prioritize sustainable production in policy-making – and even in some cases exerting pressure against sustainable production; and a scarcity of research quantifying the compelling business case.

Subject Keywords
Forests, Certification
Effective date
Review year
Alternative Strategy
Alternative Type
Pest Type
Alternative Trial
Coverage Country
Active Ingredient