More and more consumer goods companies, retailers and brand owners publish sustainability and no-deforestation policies and commitments. This is not least due to increasing pressure from stakeholders to put an end to deforestation. Furthermore, they demand a verifiable implementation of the no-deforestation policies that goes beyond the so-called „book and claim“ approach to source sustainable raw material. According to recent news though, many companies still fail to meet their self-defined commitments.
The article describes the difficulties to implement and verify deforestation free supply chains, especially when it comes to reliable information on land use change in sourcing areas. Land use change can include the conversion of forests, peatland or grassland to agricultural crop land and plantations, or the replanting of already existing plantations.
Tools like GRAS (Global Risk Assessment Services) are available to offer comprehensive, reliable and geo-referenced information on land use change and deforestation, biodiversity, carbon stock and social indices. A green cover index, called Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) and satellite imagery are used to verify if, when and what kind of land use change took place on individual farms or plantations or within certain sourcing areas. Demonstrative examples and further information about GRAS are provided in the article.