A New Model for Agricultural Production: Deforestation-free and Conversion-free Supply Chains

Virtual28 July 2021

On 28 July FOLU, The Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) hosted a session as part of the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) pre-summit, exploring A New Model for Agricultural Production: Deforestation-free and Conversion-free Supply Chains chaired by Ed Davey (FOLU) and Justin Adams (TFA). If you would like to watch the recording, please do so here.

Based on the premise that the achievement of deforestation-free and conversion-free food supply chains is a key condition for a successful UNFSS, this energized panel engaged a range of diverse stakeholders to explore how to create a new model of agricultural production that optimizes food production, rural livelihoods and protecting and restoring the environment.

Senior representatives from the governments of Ghana, Indonesia, Germany, and Norway made the case for creating deforestation-free and conversion-free supply chains in line with the Paris agreement and the need to further inclusive economic development. Delving into national plans and initiatives led by these countries, several key considerations were raised: the need for land use planning and management; multi-tiered and regional governance that account for community rights; measurement and monitoring; inclusive social programmes and incentives for producers; and crucially, the need for finance.  

 To take this agenda further, several divisions need to be overcome: we need to look at both production and consumption; we cannot enhance livelihoods without protecting the natural environment, and vice versa; global trends manifest at the local level, and we need action at both levels.

 Damien Fleming (WWF) raised the importance of urgency and acting at scale, highlighting the need for stronger commitments from both governments and the private sector and the need to close the gap between action and implementation. The importance of shared corporate action was echoed by Wei Peng (representing the Soft Commodities Forum) who made the business case for deforestation-free and conversion-free supply chains clear – putting producers first is a sensible business decision in the short- and long-term and will help to build trust across the whole value chain. Pascale Bonzom (Good Growth Partnership) complimented this collaborative and systems-based approach from a policy perspective, showing the need for incentives and both companies and governments to stop working in silos. Rob Cameron (Nestle) gave concrete examples of how brands can deliver a forest positive strategy that includes local knowledge, promotes transparency and goes beyond immediate value chains to think about a company’s broader impacts on surrounding areas and the longer-term future.  He also made the point that because of the complex issues surrounding the agenda important lessons of collaboration had already been learned that could be shared with others.

In concluding the discussion, Simon Sharpe (COP26 and the FACT Dialogue) emphasised the need to overcome siloes and to take a systems approach bringing together all of the elements that had been discussed by previous participants — leaving the audience with a sense of urgency to drive forward these ideas and create a positive sum collaboration.  The September UN Food Systems Summit presents an ideal opportunity to advance this agenda in the run up to COP26 and beyond.