The NY Declarations on Forests (PDF) and the recent flurry of corporate deforestation-free commitments could reverse alarming trends in large-scale forest conversion driven by agricultural commodities. In the words of WRI’s Global Director of Forests, Nigel Sizer, “There are extraordinarily powerful players paying attention to this issue now; let’s be sure to build on the momentum.” But while the commitments send a strong signal to the marketplace and to governments that we need dramatic changes in how commodities are produced, the devil — as always — is in the details.
Does “deforestation-free” mean the same thing to a small-holder farmer in Indonesia as to the head of procurement in a U.S.-based multinational corporation or to the government of a forest-rich developing country? How might policies set by international organizations engage local stakeholders in customized solutions? What are the key performance indicators, and how will these be verified?
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