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Connect the dots: Fight deforestation with traceability

Did you know that about 45% of the original forest cover on Earth has vanished in the previous 8000 years, most of it over the last century? 

Forests impacts our health:

Forests are our precious natural resources that act as vast carbon sinks to achieve sustainable agri-food systems. The forests hold the key to maintaining the ecosystem’s balance. In addition to helping to keep the proper amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, which is necessary for the life of many species, including humans, forests also help to store water underground.

The theme for this year’s forest day is ‘forests and health.’ As forests are natural storehouses of oxygen, it benefits our health greatly. In addition to improving our well-being, they clean the air, produce food, combat climate change by capturing carbon, and purify water. To counteract climate change, as well as to promote the health and well-being of both present and future generations, it is essential to fight deforestation and to use their resources.

How can traceability help in the fight?

The primary cause of deforestation and forest degradation is the increase of agricultural land, which is connected to the production of goods we import, such as soy, cattle, palm oil, timber, cocoa, and coffee.

Traceability can play a significant role in combating deforestation by increasing transparency and accountability in the supply chain. We can track the product journey, and in the context of deforestation, it refers to the ability to track the origin and movement of timber, palm oil, cocoa, coffee, soy, beef, and other commodities from the forest to the end user.

How traceability can help stop illegal logging & support forest conservation?

Organisations can make sure that the items they buy do not come from regions where the forests have been illegally cleared by putting in place traceability mechanisms. They can take action to protect specific areas by identifying those that are at risk of deforestation with the use of traceability.

Traceability also informs customers about the social and environmental impacts of the products they purchase, empowering them to make more educated purchasing decisions. Customers may encourage businesses to adopt more sustainable practices and lower the demand for products that contribute to deforestation by buying products that have been sourced ethically.

The benefits of traceability for global supply chains & businesses:

The increasing demand for transparency among producers and consumers has triggered the need to provide supply chain information in order to validate sustainable sourcing standards. It helps companies in the following ways:

  1. Improved risk management: Businesses can use traceability to identify and mitigate risks related to deforestation, such as harm to their brand, legal repercussions, and supply chain interruptions. Businesses may spot possible problems and take the necessary precautions to reduce risks by having real-time visibility into their supply networks.
  2. Enhanced sustainability: By analysing the environmental impact of their supply chains, mainly the deforestation they contribute to, businesses may encourage sustainability. As a result, companies may be able to take action to lessen their impact and promote sustainable practices, like procuring from certified suppliers, employing sustainable forestry methods, and funding replanting.
  3.  Better collaboration: Traceability can help businesses, governments, and civil society organisations work more effectively together to address the problem of deforestation. By exchanging data and information, stakeholders can work together to develop solutions that support sustainable supply chains and reduce the effects of deforestation.
  4. Increased customer trust and loyalty: Traceability may help companies win the trust and loyalty of their customers by demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing. By maintaining accountability and transparency throughout their supply chains, businesses can help customers make informed decisions and support sustainable practices and commodities.

Traceability and compliance requirements:

Businesses that import goods linked to deforestation into the EU are predicted to be significantly impacted by the EU Deforestation Regulation. It is also referred to as the Due Diligence Regulation, in fact, a new piece of legislation that was put up by the European Commission in July 2021 to address deforestation brought on by the use of products including soy, palm oil, cocoa, cattle, and timber in the EU. According to the legislation, businesses must use due diligence to confirm that the goods they import into the EU aren’t linked to deforestation or other environmental harm.

The rule seeks to level the playing field for companies who conduct themselves properly while promoting sustainable supply chains and lowering the EU’s contribution to deforestation and environmental degradation. Businesses will need to gather accurate geographic data on the farms where the products they acquire were grown so that the products may be inspected for compliance. 

The role of traceability in stopping deforestation and supporting sustainable development

Traceability can aid in locating illegally harvested wood and preventing its use, as well as encourage ethical forest management methods. By tracing the origin, traceability can help protect forests and the people who depend on them. Illegal logging and deforestation result in biodiversity loss, soil erosion, and other environmental disasters such as forest fires, pests, etc.

Traceability encourages sustainable forest management and helps communities that depend on forests to create sustainable means of subsistence. It can help guarantee that forest products are traded fairly and that communities benefit fairly by revealing information about the origin and movement of such items.

The upcoming EU deforestation regulation would aid millions of people, especially indigenous peoples and local communities around the world, whose livelihoods strongly depend on forest ecosystems, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss as well as protecting their way of life. At CIED, we help in bringing visibility to supply chains that support sustainable development. 

To learn more about how our ESG-specialised traceability and supply chain intelligence suite
 helps you adopt sustainability, consult with our in-house expert.

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