Forest 500: Powerbrokers With The Greatest Potential To Reduce Deforestation

Global Canopy Programme (GCP), with support from NWF, recently released the Forest 500, a ranking of the 500 most powerful organizations and people with the greatest potential to reduce deforestation.  This project is an integral part of the global effort to protect forests and the wildlife that live there. 


Jaguar Mother and Cub. Photo: Jim Bauer/ Flickr Creative Commons

Have you ever wondered if the products you consume are destroying the wildlife that you love?


Knowingly or unknowingly, we have all purchased products at one time or another that have contained (or still do contain) ingredients linked to forest destruction. This generates billions of dollars in revenue for companies, but costs trillions in damage each year – destroying critical wildlife habitat and jeopardizing biodiversity in ecological hotspots like the rainforests of South America and Indonesia where iconic species such as jaguars and orangutans live.

The majority of deforestation today is caused by large-scale agriculture, for a handful of globally traded commodities: soybeans, palm oil, beef, leather, timber and pulp and paper. Through complex supply chains, these raw ingredients find their way into nearly half of all the products in our supermarkets and into nearly every aspect of our lives.


“Deforestation is in our chocolate and our toothpaste, our animal feed and our textbooks, our buildings and our furniture, our investments and our pensions”, says Mario Rautner, manager of the GCP’s program on drivers of deforestation.


Forest 500

The Forest 500 project (which covers 250 companies in 42 countries, as well as governments, financial institutions, and other influential stakeholders) assesses the policies of the powerbrokers with the biggest influence over the commodity supply chains driving tropical deforestation. It identifies the key players who have made commitments to reduce their impacts on forests as well as those that, so far, have lagged behind. This project will help maintain pressure on leading companies, identify where more work is needed and encourage those who are yet to act to commit to addressing deforestation.

As a group, the 250 companies included in the Forest 500 (one-fifth of which are U.S. companies) are falling well short of adopting, let alone implementing, policies that support deforestation-free products. While some companies are performing remarkably well, the overall average score is only 29 points (out of a potential 100 points). In addition, only 7% of the companies in the Forest 500 have a zero deforestation policy.

Continued support from the leading companies and action from those companies that have been lagging in their efforts will be critical to foster deforestation-free products. It’s important these companies know that we, as their customers, value deforestation-free ingredients in all of our products, as our choices have a direct impact on the wildlife we all love.

If you care about the fate of tropical rainforests and the amazing wildlife that live there, help show your support for deforestation-free products by joining the conversation and liking us on Facebook.


Click here for more information about the work NWF is doing to help reduce tropical deforestation and protect critical wildlife habitat.