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Preventing Deforestation

Eleven distribution, production and manufacturing companies from different industries, including Jerónimo Martins, ask European Union to be more ambitious.
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Preventing Deforestation

Just when the European Commission is preparing legislation to regulate the entry into the European Union of products resulting from deforestation, 11 companies from different sectors signed an open letter addressed to the European authorities, calling for bold measures to curb the problem.

The companies Barry Callebaut, Carrefour, Danone, Jerónimo Martins, Kering, L’Occitane, Metro, Nestlé, Reckitt, Sainsbury’s and Tesco have publicly supported the creation of a new framework to help eliminate imported deforestation, starting with tracking of commodities at risk of deforestation that enter the European market.

“Despite progress, deforestation is continuing at alarming rates.”

“We acknowledge that our businesses have a responsibility in this fight because our supply chains are global and include commodities that may contribute to deforestation. This is why we are committed to ending deforestation in our supply chains and have implemented measures to this end over the last ten years. However, despite progress, deforestation is continuing at alarming rates” says the open letter to the European Union. The document was signed by the managers responsible for the sustainability departments of their companies, with Jerónimo Martins being represented by Sara Miranda, Chief Communications and Corporate Responsibility Officer.

According to the European Parliament’s analysis of the European Commission’s initiative, there is no legislation banning the sale in the EU of products that contribute to the destruction of forests – especially tropical forests, considered crucial to fighting climate change and protecting biodiversity. Without a legal framework, consumers have no way of knowing if the products they buy contribute to deforestation.

The open letter warns on the need to define a “clear legal framework that puts all companies on a level playing field, gives all supply chains actors incentives to address risks of deforestation”, adding that the future legal framework “will be good for our planet, for our business, and for a fair international trade system.”

The signatories also asked for the establishment of rules that promote collective transparency and provide for the appropriate support for farmers and their communities in their transition. Among the solutions suggested to the Commission is the strengthening of cooperation between producing countries and processing markets, through technical assistance, information exchange and other incentives, such as good practices in the preservation, conservation and sustainable use of forests.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), after China, the EU is the world’s second-largest importer of products from tropical forest countries linked to deforestation.

The main agricultural commodities associated with the risk of deforestation are palm oil, wood and paper fibres, soy and beef. The Group’s commitment is to progressively ensure the sustainable origin of these ingredients in our Private Brand and Perishables products. Our strategy has been assessed by CDP – Disclosure Insight Action, which once again scored us at the Leadership level in 2020, with Jerónimo Martins being the only retailer in the world to obtain this level for the second year in a row with A- for all the commodities assessed.