Environmental Awareness in the Private Sector
26 septiembre, 2019
By Reforestamos México
Thanks to Daniel Sánchez y Sánchez, Director of Advocacy in the Private Sector at
With 2020 comes the first assessment to evaluate the progress of commitments made by national and state governments, companies, and indigenous peoples to stop deforestation, especially in tropical countries. Examples of these commitments are the New York Declaration on Forests and the Consumer Goods Forum, aiming for zero deforestation by 2030.
Thanks to these movements and voluntary commitments, attention to forest conservation has been increasing. A recent study by the organization Forest Trends (Corporate Commitments to Zero Deforestation: Company Progress on Commitments that Count) identified 484 global companies that, by 2019, had made commitments to stop deforestation or ensure the sustainability of high-risk agricultural products, such as palm oil, soy, beef, wood, and paper.
However, the surge in commitments has not been accompanied by the creation of strategies, tools, or methodologies to execute them and provide transparency in monitoring specific actions and goals. From the group of companies identified in the research, only 21 have public reports on their progress.
At the territorial level, the current state of forests reflects the lack of structure and organization to materialize these intentions to stop deforestation. Paradoxically, global forest loss has increased by 43% in the last five years, with an average loss of 26 million hectares annually. Recent cases, such as the fires in the Amazon and Congo to clear land for agriculture and livestock, highlight the high vulnerability of forests.
All this happens as the United Nations has decided to declare the next decade (2021-2030) as the decade for ecosystem recovery, as a solution to combat climate change, ensure food and water supply, and protect biodiversity.
In Mexico, our reality is similar to the rest of the world. We lose around 250,000 hectares per year, according to the National Forestry Commission, and we have unclear and non- transparent information about government and private sector strategies to address this issue.
On the positive side, we have also responded to the global trend of commitments and voluntary movements to combat forest loss. An example is the creation of the Mexican Alliance for Biodiversity and Business (AMEBIN), where around 30 members, including companies, environmental organizations, and international cooperation agencies, collaborate since 2017. They seek ways for the private sector to take actions that positively impact the environment through their business models and internal and external business strategies.
Reforestamos had the privilege of coordinating this Alliance for the first two years, during which we learned a lot about the challenge of promoting and increasing environmental awareness among the business sector from a business perspective. This task represents a great commitment to the process, as it requires redefining beliefs and paradigms, openness to dialogue, learning new languages, and having high resilience to the perception and feeling of failure due to the slow pace of seeing tangible results.
One of the specific actions we carried out between Reforestamos, the German Development Agency (GIZ), and five companies (Bimbo, Banorte, Citibanamex, Protek, and Walmart) is to apply a methodology called “Natural Capital Protocol.” This helps companies identify their major impacts and dependencies on nature. Based on this, they define risks and opportunities linked to these impacts, and finally, they quantify and monetize them, facilitating their incorporation into decision-making.
The use of this methodology has helped other companies, such as Kering, better focus their environmental awareness and take actions more relevant to their business compared to conventional activities, like switching to energy-efficient bulbs in offices or reducing paper use.
As we enter the transition to the new decade of the 21st century, Reforestamos continues to focus on working with private sector companies to increase their attention to forest conservation. We explore collaboratively to find solutions and create cases that serve as examples and inspiration for more companies, governments, and people to join the goal of completely stopping deforestation by 2030.
Reforestamos México A.C.