The AFi recommends a target date no later than 2025 to eliminate deforestation and conversion in supply chains

The Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) has adopted a consensus recommendation that companies set a target date for eliminating deforestation and ecosystem conversion from their supply chains no later than 2025. This decision reflects the urgent need for action to avoid forest and biodiversity loss and reduce emissions in support of the Paris Agreement.

This recommendation elaborates upon the Accountability Framework’s  Core Principle 3 (‘Specification of commitments’) as follows:

  • Companies should set, maintain, or strengthen commitments to no-deforestation and no-conversion supply chains to include a target date that is as ambitious as possible and no later than 2025.
  • A target date is the date by which a company (or other commitment- or policy-issuing entity) intends to have fully implemented its commitment or policy.
  • A target date of no later than 2025 for eliminating deforestation and ecosystem conversion in supply chains reflects the urgency of the climate and biodiversity crises and will allow companies to meet their science-based targets for emissions reduction.

Consensus to support aligned action

The AFi’s recommendation reinforces and amplifies positions being taken by major companies and other leaders to end deforestation and achieve net zero emissions from supply chains as early as possible.

A joint report released this month by the AFi and CDP found that 75% of company-wide no-deforestation/no-conversion commitments disclosed by companies in 2021 had target dates of 2025 or earlier.

Key multi-stakeholder processes have also converged around 2025 (or sooner) as an appropriate level of ambition:

  • The Science Based Targets initiative’s Food, Land, and Agriculture (SBTi-FLAG) initiative will require that companies have no-deforestation commitments with a target date of 2025 or earlier for their FLAG target to validated.
  • The Forest Declaration Platform (formerly the New York Declaration on Forests) supports the AFi’s position as appropriate for private sector commitments to eliminate deforestation.
  • The Race to Zero’s newly proposed criteria on Nature, Land Use, and Deforestation includes a starting line criterion that companies set commitments to achieve and maintain operations and supply chains free of deforestation and of natural ecosystem conversion by 2025.
  • More than 30 leading financial institutions, collectively with over US $8.7 trillion in assets under management, committed during COP 26 to use best efforts to eliminate deforestation linked to agricultural commodities from their portfolios by 2025.

The AFi’s recommendation solidifies the consensus around 2025 and provides a clear benchmark for companies to set targets in line with expectations of their business partners, financiers, and other stakeholders.

Why 2025?

The AFi’s recommendation is grounded in scientific evidence about the climate and biodiversity crises and also considers practical timelines for action:

  • Climate: Models for climate change mitigation indicate the need to eliminate all agriculture-driven deforestation and conversion by 2030 at the latest in order to limit global climate change to 1.5°C. Considering that some types of conversion (e.g., for subsistence farming) will be difficult to fully address and that lags in implementation on the ground are likely, it is imperative that companies involved in commodity trade send a clear signal for no conversion by 2025.
  • Nature: Forest and biodiversity loss has continued nearly unabated and poses a direct threat to economic activities that generate over half of the world’s GDP. This destruction also now threatens to exceed critical tipping points, such as the ability of the Amazon to retain enough moisture to remain a rainforest. For these reasons, the Science Based Targets for Nature initiative places the avoidance of further destruction at the top of their mitigation hierarchy, with priority interim targets focusing on avoiding deforestation and ecosystem conversion as quickly as possible. A 2025 target is reflective of this imperative to avoid further loss of nature first and foremost.
  • Timelines for action: Progress being made by committed companies demonstrates that a target date of 2025 or earlier is achievable. The recent joint report by CDP and the AFi showed that, across forest-risk commodities, leading companies have put in place the types of systems necessary to identify and address deforestation and conversion, including traceability, supplier engagement, and monitoring systems. 2025 targets can drive the rapid scale-up of these demonstrated practices and thereby shift key sectors away from further expansion into natural ecosystems.

Next steps

As companies respond to evolving mandates to address issues of climate, nature, and human wellbeing in their supply chains, the AFi will continue to support them with consensus-based guidance on setting goals, taking action, and reporting progress. Contact us to learn more about how the AFi can support your organization in establishing and fulfilling ambitious no-deforestation and no-conversion goals.