Do you know where the palm oil on your breakfast peanut butter sandwich comes from? Can you tell if it comes from a former pristine rainforest? What if I tell you that it soon may be possible to find it out with just a mouse click? But first, let’s talk about why we need to know it at all.
Globalisation and trade are, perhaps, the most defining features of our times. As demand for certain agricultural commodities grows, farmers, who need to make money, clear out forests to satisfy the global urge for palm oil, beef, soy and wood products. These commodities alone are responsible for 70% of deforestation in the tropics, particularly in the Amazon and the forests of Southeast Asia.
Global trade, arranged in complex networks of supply chains, makes it hard to trace where the supplies come from. Low transparency within the supply chains makes it difficult to track down deforestation on the production side; It seems almost impossible to keep track of who is trading what with whom and where it eventually ends up. Achieving sustainable supply chains is not going to be possible without making the data of commodity trade available to suppliers, retailers and importers. Here, research can play a significant role.
These were the issues discussed at the seminar jointly organized by Focali and SIANI, held in Gothenburg the 8th of December 2017. The purpose with the seminar was to engage different actors involved in trade of agricultural products in conversations about what can be done to get rid of deforestation in commodity supply chains. Among the attendees were representatives from companies and organisations such as Nestlé, the Swedish Forest Agency, Kahls Kaffe, Rainforest Alliance, Natessen, Universeum, The Swedish Food Federation, Friends of the Earth and the National Agency for Public Procurement.