Supply change: Corporations, Commodities, and Commitments that Count
The world's leading businesses, public figures, and their influencers persist in the great experiment to embed the value of nature into the cost of doing business. Their latest solutions increasingly depend on the public sector for both the money and the means to protect critical ecosystems. Yet governments that have refereed escalating private land use and underfunded public ecosystem protection agree that private capital and input is essential to close the yawning gap between the resources they have and need. Viewed in this light, the groundswell of private sector commitments to eradicate deforestation and degradation via better-managed commodity supply chains could be the long-awaited solution to incentivize practice change along the entire value chain. However, questions arise about the effectiveness of voluntary commitments and about how commitments will coexist with existing certification frameworks and other public and private actions. Last year saw a verifiable flood of private sector commitments targeting full implementation by 2020. This leaves scarce time for stock-taking and strategizing within and across sectors. A shortage of comprehensive, reliable, publically available intelligence about sustainable commodity markets compounds these challenges and hinders coordination. In response, Forest Trends introduces the Supply Change project as a transformational resource for businesses, investors, governments, and the civil society organizations that support and hold them accountable; providing real-time information on the extent and value of commitment-driven commodity demand. In Supply Change: Corporations, Commodities, and Commitments that Count, Forest Trends captures publically-available data from 243 companies describing 307 commitments that result in this inaugural snapshot of corporate commitments and performance when available. Data from a growing number of collaborators complements our analysis of the composition of commitments and companies' progress toward their targets; the influential role of civil society and certifications; and prospects for success. As the markets for these commodities evolve, so will Supply Change explore new means to inform game-changing supply chain solutions. We hope this project will inspire real progress in the form of new commitments to supply change and public disclosure of environmental performance, recognizing the collective benefits of a transparent marketplace.