WWF welcomes progress represented by US$1 billion commitment from major new forest and climate coalition

Posted on 22 April 2021

The coalition promises to set a global standard for inclusive forest-based climate mitigation, but now we must focus on implementation.

(22 April 2021) - WWF welcomes the groundbreaking US$1 billion coalition that aims to raise global climate ambition and urgently halt deforestation announced today during the Leaders Summit on Climate by the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and Norway and a group of leading international corporates. Further work ahead is needed to support tropical forest countries and safeguard the rights of forest-dependent communities. 

The new LEAF CoalitionLowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest financewill enable governments and participating companies to pay for high-quality emissions reductions from tropical forests, which will be verified against an independent standard. According to WWF, these reductions must be in addition tonot a substitute fordeep cuts in these companies’ emissions; guided by a target validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi); aligned with science and with the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner; and able to prevent double counting of emission savings. This must also be accompanied by urgent efforts to secure land rights for Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) and action in agricultural supply chains to address deforestation and conversion from commodity production. Governments, forest nations, companies, civil society and, most importantly, IPLCs will have to work together to realize the coalition’s ambitious goals. 

Land-use change, including deforestation, is one of the leading causes of climate change and biodiversity loss. WWF realizes that reducing deforestation at scale is a profound challenge for governments and diverse stakeholders in tropical forest countries, requiring north-south, public-private and supply-demand collaborations. We will continue to build these bridges to save the world's most important forests.

WWF-US President & CEO Carter Roberts said: “With any new climate initiative, the important thing is to deliver high-integrity results at a scale that matters. That means initiatives should be measurable, credible and bring about real emissions reductions. For forest initiatives, they should touch down in places, building deep partnerships with local communities and producing durable benefits for people and nature. And they should also embrace the principle that nature-based solutions to climate change are meant to complementnot replaceemissions cuts. The LEAF Coalition sets the stage to deliver. Its success will depend on honoring these aspects in the design and execution and on building the capacity of countries to do the same.”


Fran Raymond Price, WWF Global Lead, Forests said: “Forests covering an area the size of California, totalling 43 million hectares, were lost in the tropics and sub-tropics in just over a decade, according to WWF’s report Deforestation fronts: Drivers and responses in a changing world. Tackling the drivers of deforestation at scale is a challenge that requires multi-sector partnerships, implementation finance and supply-demand collaborations. Above all, solutions need to recognize the fundamental role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities and the need for sustainable livelihoods. The commitment announced today will help catalyze greater political interest in forest countries to deliver on ambitious targets. It is important to ensure there is shared responsibility in implementing these targets, and solutions are developed alongside Indigenous Peoples and local communities and benefit them.” 


Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Lead Climate & Energy said: “This multi-sector, multi-country announcement sends a much-needed signal to tropical forest countries that their efforts to reduce systemic deforestation at jurisdictional and national scales will be rewarded by results-based payments aligned with the Paris Agreement. And it will give companies and investors the opportunity to demonstrate true leadership by going above and beyond their science-based targets validated by SBTi. Companies must hold themselves to the same high standards as the countries offering these credits. WWF looks forward to collaborating with the LEAF Coalition to develop credible strategies that deliver on the global ambition to achieve the 1.5°C goal for the benefit of climate, people and nature.” 


WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini said: “Scaling up finance to protect forests and biodiversity is critical to efforts to tackle our connected climate and nature crises. Tropical forests absorb billions of tonnes of carbon each year and host a vast diversity of life forms, while providing multiple other benefits to people locally and globally. The LEAF Coalition is a great example of the kind of innovative and integrated action needed to secure an equitable, net zero, nature-positive future for people and the planet. It is now key to focus on its effective implementation. We need to build on this momentum to set nature on the path to recovery by 2030, in support of climate action. WWF urges government and business leaders to increase financial support and ambitious actions for biodiversity. 


Notes to Editors:

  1. LEAF Coalition website: www.leafcoalition.org 
  2. Science Based Targets initiative website: https://sciencebasedtargets.org/
  3. WWF urges countries to endorse the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, committing to reversing biodiversity loss this decade.
  4. WWF has experts available for interviews on the issues mentioned above. Contact 
Amazon rainforest near Manaus.
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