SOURCE: The Guardian

DATE: June 11, 2019

SNIP: An area twice the size of the UK has been destroyed for products such as palm oil and soy over the last decade, according to analysis by Greenpeace International.

In 2010, members of the Consumer Goods Forum, including some of the world’s biggest consumer brands, pledged to eliminate deforestation by 2020, through the sustainable sourcing of four commodities most linked to forest destruction: soya, palm oil, paper and pulp, and cattle.

But analysis by Greenpeace International suggests that by the start of 2020, an estimated 50m hectares (123m acres) of forest are likely to have been destroyed in the growing demand for and consumption of agricultural products, in the 10 years since those promises were made. Its report, Countdown to Extinction, said that since 2010, the area planted with soya in Brazil has increased by 45% and palm oil production in Indonesia has risen by 75%.

The environmental group accused major brands of failing to meet their commitments and warned that the current situation was “bleak”, advising them to evolve in order to “prevent climate and ecological breakdown”.

Deforestation releases greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and destroy important habitat, threatening species with extinction.

About 80% of global deforestation is caused by agricultural production, which is also the leading cause of habitat destruction, the group said.

Agricultural consumption, and therefore production, is forecast to rise globally. Meat consumption is set to rise by 76% according to some estimates. Soya production is also predicted to soar by almost 45% and palm oil by nearly 60%, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation.