Palm oil is in many of the foods and consumer goods many of us buy every day. Rainforests are being destroyed to make way for oil palm plantations. This process means that people living and working in those forests are often exploited.
TFT has developed an innovative approach to transform the palm oil industry and we believe that certification alone is not the answer. Starting with Nestlé in 2010, we have since worked with palm oil growers, mills and processors in more than 20 countries. Our members include Wilmar, Golden Agri-Resources, Cargill and Musim Mas, representing around 80% of global trade.
Pulp and Paper
Pulp and Paper
Nearly all countries with forests have pulp and paper industries that can contribute to deforestation, threaten wildlife and biodiversity and create conflict with local and traditional communities.
TFT is helping some of the world’s largest pulp and paper companies operate without destroying forests or their profits. We also work with brands and retailers on responsible sourcing programmes for paper and packaging products. This involves setting and implementing company policies covering key forestry and supply chain issues, and working collaboratively with stakeholders. In our work with Asia Pulp and Paper, NGOS and other stakeholders are invited to verify how policy is being implemented. This level of transparency is a first for the industry.
The international wood trade has increased rapidly over the last 30 years. It’s estimated to have gone from being worth $60bn in 1985 to $257bn in 2005. By 2020 it’s expected to be worth $450bn. But illegal logging in rainforests is responsible for 10% of global warming emissions.
TFT began working in wood in 1999. Since then we have worked in more than 10 million hectares of forests, supporting forest owners to improve their practices and establish systems to verify that their wood is legal throughout the supply chain. We also help small community forests get up and running, plugging them into our members’ supply chains.
Between four and 12 tonnes of wood are required to produce just one tonne of wood-based charcoal, with around 60 percent of all wood taken from forests believed to be burnt as fuel. An estimated 400 million cubic metres of wood are turned into charcoal every year. Charcoal is also a way to transform illegal wood into money. On one hand the importation of charcoal is massive in Europe for BBQs, partly coming from areas known for their illegal trade of natural resources and where deforestation is persistent. On the other, Africa and Asia are the biggest markets for domestic use of charcoal, which is often the only energy source for people. A large amount of charcoal is also used in the industry sector as raw material for a lot of applications: steel, solar panels, active charcoal to filter water. The charcoal market is estimated to be 50 million tons per year. To improve the transparency of this market, we believe it’s important to think about where the charcoal we use comes from and how it is produced.
TFT is working through all the charcoal supply chain from the forests to the end product delivered to the customer. We are helping our members to trace back their charcoal to the source, with the aim of bringing total transparency to the supply chain and ensuring there are no links with deforestation. We work with retailers, charcoal producers and importers to help them set up responsible supply policies and to implement them. We work on the ground to ensure charcoal is made without causing deforestation and with respect to charcoal workers and community rights.
There are ethical and environmental concerns about how stone is extracted and processed. They include difficult labour conditions for workers in quarries and factories. Stone remains an unregulated industry in developing countries.
Stone is not a renewable resource, but it can be a responsible one. TFT’s Extractives Programme sets clear, realistic standards, helping members such as retail buyers tackle issues in their supply chain factories and quarries. TFT teams work on the ground in India and China to drive standards, such as legal working hours and wages, good health and safety and statutory rights and benefits for workers.
Demand for cocoa is high. Meeting it has become challenging for cocoa producing countries like Côte d’Ivoire, which is responsible for 40% of global production. Ageing, unproductive cocoa trees, soil degradation and bad weather and disease account for 30% of crop losses, affecting farmers’ income.
Many cocoa growers do not monitor how their plantations are farmed, so TFT began carrying out assessments on their behalf. Mapping plantations helps them plan for the future. TFT has also begun helping buyers to map out and trace their supply chains. Only then can they truly know where their imported cocoa comes from.
It’s estimated that 1.6 billion cups of coffee are drunk every day. Smallholder farmers, who are defined as having less than five hectares of land, are responsible for producing 85% of the world’s coffee. They often live on less than $2 a day.
The supply chain is complicated to get to the bottom of, especially when you consider just how many smallholder farmers are involved, but TFT is working with retailers to trace their supply chains and support smallholder farmers.
Coco farmers don’t always earn a fair wage. Middlemen traders, known as ‘pisteurs’, can cause farmers to earn lower income. Additionally, too few mills know where their raw coco materials, known as copra, come from.
TFT is helping farmers to work directly with buyers and earn a better price. Nine networks have already been set up in Côte d’Ivoire. Copra quality is improving thanks to the installation of modern dryers capable of processing a greater amount of raw material. This increases coco prices, putting farmers in a better position.
Non-timber forest products
Non-timber forest products
Products like cosmetics contain many non-timber forest products (NTFP) such as herbs and fruits. Where illegal logging has destroyed some forests, forest communities have been forced into earning a living through the harvest of NTFPs.
TFT has begun developing partnerships between companies who use NTFPs in their products, and the communities living in the forests in Brazil where those NTFPs grow. These partnerships promote responsible forestry and allow communities direct access to the international market.
Cement and plaster contain a mineral called gypsum. Commercial quantities of it are mined throughout the world. After mining, gypsum is crushed to a powder and goes through a heating process called calcination, which can expose workers to dangerous gases.
We help companies to manage social and environmental risks by mapping their supply chains for gypsum. We also map charcoal dust (a fuel that is burned to make cement) and the wooden pallets used to carry cement bags. The aim is to improve environmental and social standards.
Over 11 million tonnes of rubber is produced annually. Around 90% of it is grown in Asia and used mainly for tyres. But the industry is expanding and many forests in Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have been cleared for rubber plantations.
Too many companies do not know where their imported rubber comes from. TFT is helping them to find out, mapping and tracing their supply chains. This involves visiting and assessing growers, plantations, traders and factories in Asia and supporting them to improve practices.
It’s estimated that the worldwide sugar industry is grown on an area the size of Italy. Land grabbing is an issue; it has been known for sugar suppliers to kick local farmers off of their land.
In December 2012 TFT began working with Cameroonian sugar cane company SOSUCAM on a community, stakeholder and employee engagement programme. The company plans to expand its plantations and wants to do so in a responsible way. We are also working to build relationships between permanent and seasonal workers from hundreds of different ethnic groups.
Sunflower oil is used as an ingredient in many food products. It is produced by crushing the seeds of the sunflower (Helicanthus) which are cultivated around the world.
We are helping our member companies in Europe to trace their sunflower oil supply chains back to the farm, with an emphasis on understanding how it is grown and sourced, what the environmental issues are and what social impact those issues might have. We are engaging with smallholder and larger area farmers, as well as traders, crushing and refining operations, to help improve farming practices, yields and the livelihoods of those involved.
Most people consume soy every day without realising it. That’s because soy is not just an ingredient in soymilk and tofu, it’s used in the production of our meat, cosmetics and even our fuel.
The rapid expansion of soy farming brings with it millions of jobs and much-needed income for poor countries. Unfortunately, it has also resulted in conversion of forests, savannahs and grasslands in South America.
At TFT we believe that soy can be grown in a way that does not drive conversion of important natural ecosystems and respects the rights of workers and indigenous people. We are committed to helping companies build responsible soy supply chains that meet this goal.
TFT helps companies develop and implement responsible sourcing policies for soy focused on No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation. We use the term ‘No Deforestation’ broadly to include no conversion of important natural ecosystem areas such as high carbon stock forests and high conservation value areas.
We work with companies who are prepared to make commitments for all the soy they use globally. Together, we develop pragmatic and effective ways to implement those commitments. We start by mapping the global supply chain and identifying major environmental and social risks within it. Then we visit and meet with farmers, local civil society organisations, government representatives, scientists and buyers in the soy origination regions to help companies understand the realities on the ground. We then help companies work with local stakeholders on solutions that make sense for their region.
Our collaboration with companies helps farmers, traders, mills and refineries improve their social and environmental practices, as well as their traceability. We also help identify monitoring and remote sensing tools to ensure that the soy farms feeding into supply chains are not converting important natural ecosystems.
We at TFT know that there is nothing easy about creating big change, but we are committed to working with the world’s most influential companies to protect ecosystems and respect the rights and wellbeing of farmers and indigenous peoples.
Biomass is organic material that may be used as fuel. Burning organic material, such as wood, is the oldest means humans have to generate heat and power. In rural parts of many developing countries, firewood and charcoal remain essential for heating, cooking and local industry.
Recent technological advances have increased the use of biomass in many countries. Wood pellets are increasingly used to fire large power stations in Europe, South Korea and Japan, replacing coal in response to climate policies and renewables targets. This additional demand has driven growth in global pellet production from two million tonnes in 2000 to around 30 million tonnes in 2016. Further rapid growth is forecast.
Some NGOs are sceptical about biomass. Influential NGOs claim large-scale biomass power generation is bad for the climate and for forests. The industry argues that biomass is a reliable renewable energy source, with much lower sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions – and that pellets are sourced both from ‘sustainable’ forestry operations and by using waste wood that would otherwise decompose or be burned.
TFT began work on biomass in 2016 to support moving the industry towards responsible and transparent wood sourcing, and to foster constructive dialogue with NGOs and other stakeholders.