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Unilever participates in palm oil talks

The first major working meeting of the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, which aims to eliminate the tropical deforestation associated with sourcing commodities such as palm oil, soy, beef, paper and pulp by 2020, took place in Jakarta, Indonesia on 27–28 July.

Building the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020

Unilever has led the process of building the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, a public–private partnership between the US government and the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), since it was announced at the Rio+20 summit in 2012.

Every year about 13 million hectares of forest is cleared or lost globally. Just four commodities – soy, palm, paper and beef – drive over 50% of tropical deforestation.

Key outcomes from the July workshop included decisions to identify ways to:

  • Improve commodity yields and production efficiencies while conserving forests and ecosystems in critical partner countries

  • Monitor deforestation and forest health to measure progress

  • Create market signals through procurement and investment and lending programmes as incentives for sustainable production, and the promotion of sustainable food production and the conservation of forests

  • Improve governance and enforcement in partner countries as related, for example, to land use planning and forest conservation.

Tackling deforestation

Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said: “We all have a responsibility to do our part, but we cannot do it alone. Partnership is critical. Governments (national and local), private sector and civil society groups need to join hands to prevent deforestation and promote reforestation.”

Unilever CEO Paul Polman said: “Tackling deforestation is a shared responsibility. It is an issue which will only be solved if we all work together. The Tropical Forest Alliance will attempt to provide a framework within which partnerships can be conceived and formed.”

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