WRI targets deforestation with new tool

A new tool promises to enable businesses to manage deforestation risks for any commodity, anywhere in the world.

Led by the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Global Forest Watch team, the GFW Pro platform uses more than 30 data sets from partners like Google and the University of Maryland to determine deforestation risk and help prioritise action.

Users can upload locations of farms, production facilities or investment portfolios, then analyse risks using GFW data like near-real-time deforestation alerts, fires, proximity to national parks, indigenous lands and intact forests.

The system can be applied to any agricultural commodity, anywhere in the world, including palm oil soy, cocoa, beef, sugar, coffee, rubber and timber.

Cargill, Mondelez, Olam and Unilever are among the global companies already using GFW Pro to track commodities at thousands of sites.

“If we expect to achieve transparent and sustainable commodity supply chains at a truly global scale, we must have a system that is accessible to global players, intermediaries, and local actors alike,” said Luiz Amaral, director of global solutions for commodities and finance at WRI. “In addition to helping multinationals, it is designed to equip even the smallest banks, trading companies and agricultural producers– who often lack resources - with the ability to assess their risks, monitor and report progress.”

The world lost 12 million hectares of forest in 2018 almost half of which was commodity driven. Monitoring deforestation risks has historically been very hard to track, according to WRI, because commodities may change hands dozens of times from the moment they are harvested until they end up in consumer goods products.

This week, a new report by Greenpeace International claimed that at least 50 million hectares of forest – an area twice the size of the UK – is set to have been destroyed for commodities during 10 years of corporate commitments to end deforestation.

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