Commodities finance

Commercial capital flows both depend on and shape the world's commodity markets.

Yet we face an extraordinary challenge.

Over the next 40 years, land, energy, water, and weather constraints will place unprecedented pressure on mankind’s ability to access our most basic goods – food, fuel and fiber.

The financial sector will face a new set of material and reputational risks, as well as opportunities, as the economy and society adjust.

Are you a financial institution?

Receive our Quarterly Briefing on Sustainable Commodities Finance


Global Banks Sign Zero Net Deforestation Compact with Clients
Barclays, Deutsche Bank, UBS, BNP Paribas, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and Westpac have committed to support the transition to zero net deforestation by 2020.

The Soft Commodities Compact is the result of 2 years of collaboration between the Consumer Goods' Forum and Cambridge University's Banking Environment Initiative (BEI), with guidance from WWF, to support the goal of zero net deforestation.

The BEI Soft Commodities Compact includes 2 commitments:
  • Banks will require clients with significant operations in palm oil, forestry, or soy in high-risk geographies to adopt credible third party certification.
  • Banks will work with consumer goods companies and their supply chains to develop responsible financing solutions.
Get the full details
WWF's role in BEI
For the Soft Commodites Compact, WWF’s Commodities Finance programme assisted negotiations and the formulation of the commitment, as well as the development of the Sustainable Shipment Letter of Credit. We strongly encourage banks to join the commitment to support zero net deforestation. The compact makes crucial strides towards stemming tropical deforestation, slashing portfolio emissions, and protecting human rights – while strengthening the portfolio and generating new business.

What WWF does

WWF works with financial institutions in the debt and equity markets, asset management, and insurance sectors. We draw on insights from over 50 years of experience, more than 70 commodity experts, 70 country offices, and partnerships with dozens of multi-national food, agri-, and consumer goods companies, in order to deliver:
  • Improved risk management, capacity, and financial performance in high-impact sectors
  • Insights and data on key global trends
  • Innovation breakthroughs in sustainable financial products

Real outcomes

Our 2020 Target

Mainstream financial institutions understand and benefit from management of environmental and social risk in soft commodities
Where we work
WWF has staff with expertise in the sustainable financing of commodities in:
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Coastal East Africa
  • EU
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Peru
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • UK
  • US


Tackle your portfolio’s biggest source of climate, water, and biodiversity loss risks through a mainstream approach:
  1. Assess exposure to the principal drivers of tropical deforestation – palm oil, forest products, soy, and beef
  2. Request verified good practice, ideally through credible 3rd party standards, or using The 2050 Criteria
  3. Create or update your Environmental and Social Risk Policies
  4. Require transparency from your clients in these soft commodity supply chains
  5. Engage weak actors in your portfolio to adopt responsible practices
Through these simple steps, one can support the global transition to “zero net deforestation", reducing emissions up to 20%, while enhancing client performance.


Watch WWF’s Jason Clay explain how if just 100 key companies go sustainable, global markets will shift to protect the planet our consumption has already outgrown.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required