Around the world, forests continue to disappear, often for agricultural, ranching and logging purposes. Deforestation is a particular concern for tropical rainforests as these forests capture carbon emissions (and thus help mitigate climate change) and they are home to much of the world’s biodiversity. For these reasons and more, it is critical the food industry helps reduce deforestation by identifying alternative methods to produce the commodities that feed the world.
Ahold Delhaize and our brands have a wide-ranging approach to limiting deforestation. There are predominantly four commodities that have the largest impact on limiting deforestation in our supply chains. For that reason, our specific focus is on soy, palm oil, beef and wood fiber.
We have signed both the Consumer Goods Forum’s Resolution on Deforestation (November 2010) to mobilize resources within our respective businesses to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020, and the New York Declaration on Forests, to halve the loss of natural forests by 2020 and strive to end it by 2030.
Ahold Delhaize and its brands are committed that 100% of the volume of palm oil in our own brand products is certified sustainable against the Principles and Criteria of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The palm oil used that is not directly certified is covered by certificates. The RSPO’s standard aims to protect the environment where palm oil is grown, as well as the people and communities who produce it. In addition, Ahold Delhaize is a member of the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition (POTC). The POTC aims to remove deforestation and exploitation from the palm oil production sector by using a robust engagement and evaluation process for measuring the progress of the major First Importers of palm oil into international markets. (see our position on palm oil for more information)
Ahold Delhaize brands are working towards 100% sustainably certified higher risk soy. The biggest risks for deforestation in soy production come from South America, which is where we focus our efforts. Our brands work with standards such as the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS), which supports the sustainable production of soy in South America. These standards also include requirements on fertilizer and pesticide use to protect soils and water. Also, Ahold Delhaize is one of the original signatories of the Statement of Support of the Cerrado Manifesto, to support development and growth in soy and cattle producing regions in a manner that avoids deforestation and native vegetation loss. (see our position on soy for more information).
Beef is produced in many countries and under a wide range of conditions. Deforestation still takes place in areas in South America where there is pressure on available land for animal production because of increased production of arable crops like soy. The clear majority of beef products on the shelves of our brands are sourced from areas where no deforestation occurs for beef production. Deforestation mainly takes place by farmers that produce beef and young animals for the local market and does not reach our supply chain. As a member of the multi-stakeholder Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), we aim to jointly limit deforestation through the GSRB Principles & Criteria.
Ahold Delhaize brands apply a three-pronged approach towards wood fiber, whereby the product or packaging, must be either ‘certified’, ‘low risk’, or ‘recycled’. A target has been set to have our own-brand wood fiber products certified sustainable against an acceptable standard, low risk, or recycled of 100% by 2020 (see our position on wood fiber for more information).