Friday, June 22, 2012

Rio+20 Announcement: US Partners with CEOs to Reduce Deforestation Through Sustainable Agriculture

The US Government says within 100 days it will co-host, alongside companies of the Consumer Goods Forum, a Partnership Dialogue in Washington DC. This US Government announcement concerns companies of the Consumer Goods Forum, representing more than 400 companies and brands operating with combined annual revenues of over US$3.1 trillion, to support the Forum's pledge to achieve zero net deforestation in their supply chains by 2020.

“Individually both governments and business have already mobilized significant resources to address the challenge of deforestation but we all recognize that much more can be achieved if we align our efforts and work in partnership,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever.

The US Government invited other countries, companies, and civil society leaders to join the effort to develop joint policy recommendations and an action plan to promote sustainable food production, while also protecting and conserving forests.

“I am so pleased to see the United States Government and major companies beginning to take a leadership role in protecting the environment. We environmentalists can only do so much. It truly takes all of us working together to heal the planet,” said Jane Goodall, co-Chair of the event.

“The private sector needs to put people and the planet at the center of all we do,” said Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin Group. “Together we need to face critical challenges, including finding ways to harness and protect our natural assets—including the last remaining tropical forests.  The planet won’t wait.”

Ted Turner, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the second largest landowner in the United States, also voiced support. “The message of this event is very timely.  Our land-based resources are dwindling, and so we must be responsible stewards by reducing wasteful consumption and agricultural practices and promoting sustainable uses that protect the environment while continuing to feed growing populations,” he said.

Jeff Horowitz, founder of Avoided Deforestation Partners who organized the event was “extremely pleased to see governments and corporations make such extraordinary commitments”.  He added, “We believe this partnership can be a game changer with the potential to transform how we grow our food, fuel and fiber, with immediate and dramatic effects on efforts to slow, halt and reverse deforestation.”

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