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2020 Deforestation Goals May Not Be Reached, Suggests Forest 500 Analysis

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Deforestation by Crustmania via flickr

The Global Canopy Programme’s Forest 500 Initiative’s third annual set of results has declared that more action is needed from the government and financial institutions to help companies reach deforestation-free supply chains

The Global Canopy Programme’s ‘Forest 500’ released its 2016 results analysing the deforestation policies of the most influential tropical forest powerbrokers, including companies, financial institutions, and countries. Collectively, these powerbrokers hold the key to decoupling the production of palm oil, soya, cattle products, and timber products from deforestation. This would be a major achievement given that commercial agricultural production accounts for over two thirds of tropical deforestation globally.

This year’s annual assessment reveals that, at the current rate of progress, ambitious 2020 and 2030 deforestation goals, such as those laid out by the Consumer Goods Forum and signatories to the New York Declaration on Forests, are unlikely to be achieved. While 11% of companies have established new deforestation policies or improved existing ones, leading to an increase in their Forest 500 score, 57% of companies in the Forest 500 have either weak policies or no policies at all. Further, over the last three years, there was only an increase of 5% in the number of companies with policies for all commodities to which they are exposed.

Ellen Behrens, VP Corporate Responsibility at Orkla ASA – a consumer goods company said, “We have a collective responsibility to act. The Forest 500 reveals that in order to preserve rainforests and fight climate change, it’s important that more companies establish no-deforestation policies with clear time-bound targets.”

Furthermore, entire sectors lack robust deforestation policies: in particular, impacts associated with cattle supply chains, a key driver of tropical deforestation, remain largely unaddressed; only 26% of companies operating in this supply chain have a policy to address environmental impacts from the production, trade, or sourcing of cattle products (beef & leather). Policies also fail to holistically address impacts in these supply chains. Of the 11 companies with cross-commodity gross zero deforestation policies 57% had policies limited to a specific geography or only a portion of a company’s supply chain.

“Despite growing momentum in the number of commitments across key supply chain actors, the Forest 500 reveals that many of these commitments lack the teeth to make meaningful change in the sustainability of commodity production,” states Sarah Lake, Head of the Supply Chains programme at GCP. “While they appear ambitious on face value, company policies need to close loopholes that simply relocate environmental and social impacts to new geographies, or sequester them into less sustainable supply chains.”

The report also reveals that demand for commodity products driving deforestation in the tropics remains unaddressed by major importing countries, while tropical forest countries are increasingly committing to address commodity driven deforestation within their borders. Four out of 25 selected countries exporting forest risk commodities have now established national commitments to prevent the loss of priority forest types such as high conservation value forests, primary, and intact forests, including two in the last year. Yet some of the largest importers such as China and India, as well as the EU and US, have yet to put in place strong demand-side commitments to tackle deforestation embedded in domestic consumption of the range of forest risk commodities. The only Forest 500 importing countries found to formally support nationwide sustainable commodity use or import initiatives are Germany and the Netherlands. Although importing countries may fund sustainability initiatives in producing regions, their import demand remains unaddressed.

The report also finds that strong policies from a small number of leading financial institutions are yet to be matched by their peers, clients and investee companies: 3% of financial institutions assessed have committed to remove deforestation associated with all four Forest 500 commodities from their portfolios, while a quarter have a lending or investment policy for some, but not all, commodities. Yet, even among those financial institutions with deforestation policies, many continue to finance clients and investees without aligned policies indicating a lack of policy implementation. The 2016 assessment finds that 75% of lenders with deforestation policies have made loans – totalling over $64 billion – to producers, processors, or traders that do not have aligned policies.

“Financial institutions lending or investing to companies operating in these supply chains have a significant role to play in achieving deforestation-free supply chains,” states Tom Bregman, Project Manager of the Forest 500. “If they engage with companies in their portfolios on the issue and shift financing away from companies persistently causing deforestation this would send a strong market signal and encourage more companies to take action.”

The 2016 results also show that:

● 3 companies made particularly encouraging progress: Colgate-Palmolive (US), Marks and Spencer (UK), and Orkla group (Norway) strengthened their deforestation policies and now score the maximum 5 out of 5 points available.
● The 2016 assessment results show that the majority of countries (18 out of 25) and subnational jurisdictions (7 out of 10) selected in the Forest 500 were found to have policies to tackle forest loss – for example, to reduce the rate of deforestation, expand the area of forest under protection, or prevent deforestation in a particular biome.
● Deutsche Bank (Germany) joins HSBC (UK) and BNP Paribas (France) in scoring the maximum 5 points, owing to an improved policy that lays out the expectation for clients to make their own zero net deforestation commitments and protect land with high ecological, cultural, or social value.

CDP, an international, not-for-profit organisation today also released a new study “Revenue at risk: Why addressing deforestation is critical to business success”, produced on behalf of 365 investors representing US$22 trillion in assets. The report concluded that on average, nearly a quarter (24%) of company revenues depend upon four deforestation-linked commodities: cattle products, palm oil, soy and timber products. CDP estimates up to US$906 billion of annual sales could be at risk. The report by CDP reveals just how vulnerable companies are to deforestation risks associated with producing and sourcing these commodities.

To see the Forest 500 platform and read more about the results including the analysis of the groups please visit Web: www.forest500.org Twitter:
www.twitter.com/forest500.

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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