CDP names Cargill sector leader in tackling deforestation 

By Carl Peterson January 15, 2015

Fast on the heels of endorsing the U.N. Declaration on Forests and releasing its first palm oil progress report, Cargill has been recognized by CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) as the leader in its sector for corporate action on tackling deforestation.

Forests are seen as an essential way to tie down heat-trapping CO2. According to some scientific estimates, deforestation is responsible for up to 20 percent of carbon pollution worldwide.

“Different parts of the supply chain are moving at different rates to tackle this issue,” said Paul Simpson, chief executive officer at CDP. “What is clear is that leading companies, as identified by CDP, are those that are bringing their supply chains with them on this journey.”

More than 150 companies participated in CDP’s 2014 global forests report across categories such as energy, packaged foods and transportation. Cargill was acknowledged as the leader in the agricultural products category for disclosure of its work in palm oil and soy supply chains.

Turning commitments into action

Cargill has a 10-year track record of actions to reduce deforestation. Some achievements to date:

  • Cargill led the industry by working with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Brazil to devise the Soy Moratorium in 2006, which played a part in reducing deforestation rates in that country by more than 80 percent. The monitoring work Cargill pioneered with TNC is being used by Brazil’s government as it implements its new Forest Code.
  • The company joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in 2004, and its PT Hindoli plantation was among the first to be RSPO certified in 2009.
  • Cargill convened a soy “learning journey” in 2013 to bring together 60 thought leaders from Europe, Brazil and the U.S. for a four-day session in Brazil that focused on addressing the challenges of sustainable soy production and identifying clear, implementable solutions. Participants included food and feed companies, retailers, farmers, governments, NGOs and academics.
  • In 2014, Cargill became a member of The Forest Trust, an international NGO that has been helping the company map its palm oil supply chains. In Malaysia, Cargill has mapped 100 percent of its palm oil to the mill where it was processed, and as of June 2014, it has mapped 80 percent back to the dealer and plantation.
  • Also in 2014, the company signed the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto and the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge, and updated its sustainable palm policy. As part of that policy, Cargill agreed to report publicly on its progress four times a year; its first progress report was just released.

“As a company, our goal is to become the most trusted supplier of sustainable agricultural products, which includes protecting the planet’s forests,” said Mark Murphy, Cargill vice president for corporate responsibility. “While we’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished so far in our soy and palm supply chains in particular, we know there’s more to do. We’re eager to work with our partners to meet the challenges ahead of us.”

Moving ahead on climate change disclosure

Cargill’s performance on CDP’s climate change disclosure evaluation climbed 14 points over last year, to a score of 84 out of 100. The average score for participants this year was 53.

In the category of governance and strategy, Cargill scored 17 points above average; in emissions management its score was 27 points above average. For risk and opportunity management, Cargill scored 100 out of 100, compared with an average score of 44.

This was the fourth consecutive year Cargill participated. The company’s response highlighted the numerous environmental sustainability actions the company takes within its operations, as well as its innovative sustainable products and services.