COP21 Side event: Deforestation Free Agriculture: moving from pledges to action


Translating deforestation free pledges into meaningful impact is challenging and complex, requiring the engagement of multiple stakeholders. This COP21 side event brought together the expertise of SNV, Rainforest Alliance and National Wildlife Federation to explore case studies of successful interventions in Asia and Latin America. The session also included a robust Q&A session with the audience of approximately 200 people, and moderated by Mr Tasso Azevedo.

Richard McNally demonstrated how SNV's Inclusive Business and Sustainable Supply Chain Approach yielded success in a case study integrating sustainable shrimp aquaculture with mangrove habitat in Vietnam, where the shrimp industry is the key driver of mangrove loss. He shared the 6 key factors for transforming commitments to impacts: Understanding the landscape to balance trade-offs and synergies; Multi-stakeholder engagement; Strong government support; A clear business case; Demonstrated impact; and Initial pilot subsidy. 

Nathalie Walker of the National Wildlife Federation presented a case study of the moratorium sales of soy grown on deforested land in Brazil. The moratorium was shown to be very effective in limiting further deforestation, and its effectiveness was compared with the proposed replacement sanctions under Brazil’s forest laws.

Richard Donovan of Rainforest Alliance presented on ways to bring transparency and accountability to deforestation free and sustainable sourcing, pointing out that there is currently no universal framework defining deforestation and that similar gaps exist for implementation, monitoring and accountability. The aim now is to move towards a generic global structure and guidance supplemented by regional adaptations.

Speaking about the achievement this December of Walmart Brazil’s commitment to achieving zero deforestation in its Brazillian beef supply chain, Ms Tatiana Trevisan elaborated on the five year process to achieving this. As The Netherlands prepare to assume presidency of the EU, the Amsterdam Declaration pledges investment in private sector initiatives for deforestation free supply chains and to hold private sector accountable for sustainable supply chains.

The session concluded with a Question and Answer session from the audience. The panel answered questions on a range of topics including smallholder incentives, leakage of deforesting activities to other biomes, and the threat of beef production. 


Richard McNally

Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD) Advisor