Main Issue

More than 1.5 billion people depend directly on forests for their livelihoods, but about 7.6 million ha of tropical forest are lost every year — an area roughly the size of the Czech Republic. The loss of forests, and the accompanying loss of biodiversity, puts us in a downward spiral: apart from threatening the security and livelihoods of local communities, it reduces our access to clean water, decreases soil productivity and accounts for 12 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.  

Soy, beef, and palm oil are used in a wide range of foods and goods that are consumed by billions of people around the world. They yield about US$92 billion a year to producers, many of whom are small-scale rural farmers. These commodities are also responsible for about 80 percent of tropical deforestation.  

Managed sustainably, soy, beef, and palm oil have the potential to become engines for rural development, addressing many of the global sustainable development goals for ending poverty and protecting the planet. Transforming these three key commodity supply chains also has the potential to significantly reduce tropical deforestation and stem climate change. 

Anticipated global economic growth and changing diets will strengthen the demand for agricultural commodities and place additional pressure on forests. As demand for agricultural commodities grows, we need to develop forward-thinking business models to manage sustainable commodity production that also maintains forests and important ecosystem services.

What We Do

The GEF launched the Good Growth Partnership (GGP)in 2017. Instead of treating production, demand, and investment interventions as separate tracks, the Partnership looks at where the layers of the supply chain integrate and overlap to enhance financial incentives and demand for sustainably produced agricultural commodities.  

Results

  • Identified 1.35 million hectares of high conservation value forest in North Sumatra, strengthened regulations to protect areas set-aside within plantation concessions, including review of EIAs, zoning regulations, and spatial plans. Approximatley 40,000 smallholder farmers will benefit from legal revisions to require enhanced support from the private sector 

  • Reviewed 220,000 hectares of Sime Darby Plantation Liberia’s concession area, one of the largest slated for development in Liberia. The Partnership also helped develop a 10-point plan to protect the Zodua Community Forest through regional dialogue and mediation.  

  • Helped 10 West and Central African countries, participating in the TFA 2020 Africa Palm Oil Initiative (APOI), make measurable progress toward achieving the Marrakesh Declaration for the Sustainable Development of the Palm Oil Sector in Africa.  

  • Launched the Asia Learning & Exchange Program, which provides grants for innovative research and knowledge exchange between Asian governments and companies which have a strong demand influence on palm oil, beef and soy markets

$45 million


To be invested in removing deforestation from commodity supply chains

39 million


Hectares of land to be sustainably managed

66 million


tCO2e emissions to be mitigated through more resilient supply chains

Looking Ahead

In GEF-7, the Food Systems, Land Use, and Restoration Impact Program will deepen engagement on beef, palm oil, and soy supply chains, and broaden its focus to include cocoa and coffee. Maintaining natural habitat is a critical aspect of the long-term pathway toward more sustainable food systems and land use, especially in the tropical forest regions. 

The GEF will support efforts to engage global and national supply chain actors — including smallholders and other producers, buyers, traders, retailers, and financing institutions — to further stimulate both supply and demand for deforestation-free agricultural commodities. The ultimate goal is to make deforestation-free a viable and mainstream business model. 

The GEF will also support efforts to strengthen existing weaknesses in the supply-chain approach, specifically the on-the-ground operationalization of deforestation-free commitments made by corporations over the past five years. This will be done while simultaneously assisting governments that have included addressing deforestation as a key national policy priority in progressing toward this goal. Despite sharing similar objectives, corporations and governments have, to a large degree, acted in isolation regarding approaches to addressing tropical deforestation.  

One critical step in converting these aspirations into action is, therefore, to work with government and major actors from across the supply chain on multi-stakeholder platforms like the Good Growth Partnership that achieve deeper collaboration, coordination, and understanding on advancing deforestation-free commodity implementation. Promising jurisdictional approaches, where comprehensive planning on a sub-national level aligns incentives between actors and generates multiple benefits for companies, governments, and local communities, may be targeted for platform development so that key actors from jurisdictions can exchange experiences, share successes, and inspire replication across countries and commodities.