WWF statement on the Agricultural Sector Roadmap Progress Report

Posted on December, 08 2023

Thirteen of the world’s largest agricultural commodity and trading companies today shared their progress toward reducing deforestation associated with palm, beef, and soy production. Although some progress has been made by individual traders since their initial commitments made last year at COP27, the sector as a whole has not moved with the urgency needed.

In response, WWF released the following statements:
WWF-US President and CEO Carter Roberts:

“The progress reported today falls short of what’s needed for a 1.5-degree future. Progress among traders continues to be uneven. While some companies’ plans have matched the urgency of the moment, most have failed to do so. We need sector-wide efforts like the traders’ roadmap to increase the ambition of everyone at the table. 

“We know the food sector needs to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 to deliver its share toward the Paris Agreement. Getting there requires zeroing out commodity driven deforestation and land conversion. We are gratified by the improved commitments of some companies in this sector and will work country by country to help them in meeting those commitments. We’re disappointed in the rest. And need the rest to make more progress in meeting their obligations for our shared future.”

WWF-Brazil Executive Director Mauricio Voivodic:

"Once again, the soft commodities roadmap presents an insufficient response to the climate crisis. The sectors are not yet taking full responsibility for destroying natural ecosystems associated with their supply chains. We expect that each company goes well beyond the commitments presented in the sectoral roadmap and takes immediate actions to eliminate deforestation and conversion from their supply chains."

WWF-UK Chief Executive Tanya Steele: 

“More action to stop precious habitats being converted into farmland is welcome but it should not have taken two years to get here.

“We now need confirmation of an earlier cut-off date for conversion of land for agriculture; otherwise we face a race to the bottom, with biodiversity being needlessly destroyed in the pursuit of profit.
“As they stand, the commitments fall short of what’s needed to stay on track to keep global temperature rise below 1.5C.”
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Editor’s Notes:

WWF’s Key Asks for Agricultural Traders Tackling Deforestation and Land Conversion
• Urgency: Globally, emissions from deforestation and conversion need to quickly decline and reach zero well before 2030 in order to support a 1.5- degree future. While it may seem that this policy is in line withthis zero deforestation and conversion goal, it is instead negating any positive impacts, as any supply chain and sourcing policies with a future cut-off date will create a race to clear lands and forests before the cut-off date.
• Geography: Commitments must cover all natural habitats in all geographies. Commitments that cover only select geographies leave important ecosystems such as the Pampas, Great Plains and the Chiquitania forests unprotected, and are likely to cause increased rates of habitat clearing in excluded geographies.
• Uniform Traceability: It is critical products can be uniformly traced to the farm level to verify deforestation and conversion-free supply chains. This helps close loopholes and avoid fraud by ensuring products from deforested and converted areas are not co-mingled with deforestation and conversion free products.
Half of the Cerrado has already been cleared for agriculture expansion and the rest is under immediate threat.
© WWF / Jean-Francois Timmers