Businesses pledge to stop deforestation in supply chain

As the planet's resources dwindle, the population places a larger significance on environmentally friendly products and companies. To meet consumer demand, businesses are putting an emphasis on corporate social responsibility. In their attempts to clean up their supply chains, organizations have dedicated themselves to creating visibility and more sustainable resources. Recently, businesses have pledged to protect the environment by eliminating deforestation from their practices.

Companies commit to sustainability
At the 2014 United Nation Secretary-General's Climate Summit, various companies and organizations signed on to promote The New York Declaration on Forests. This action plan calls for a reduction of the deforestation of natural forests by 2020 and the practice's elimination by 2030. Businesses would need to look for new eco-friendly and sustainable methods to source their materials and products. They also pledged to do their parts to rebuild natural forests, planting 150 million hectares by 2020 and gradually increasing that rate throughout the years.

Various companies have started looking at where they are procuring their products from, and many have committed to strategically sourcing from sustainable suppliers. Cargill is one of the businesses that are determined to create an environmentally friendly supply chain. The corporation is working with farmers, governments, other organizations and consumers to ensure its methods meet green standards, according to Cargill's vice chairman Paul Conway. Cargill is evaluating its carbon footprint and building sustainable resources of soy, palm, cotton and maize.

McDonald's has also pledged to eliminate deforestation from its practices, Supply Chain Digital reported. The corporation has partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to create more sustainable practices and globally source from certified suppliers.

"At McDonald's, we view protection of forests and High Conservation Value areas as important business and societal issues and believe our role is not just to avoid negative impacts, but to promote responsible production that benefits people, communities and the planet," Francesca DeBiase, chief supply chain and sustainability officer at McDonald's, told the source.

Environmental practices lead to company-wide benefits
While abiding by The New York Declaration on Forests is currently voluntary, the policy - or one like it - could eventually become mandatory. Instead of focusing on adhering to only the minimal environmental regulations, companies should hold themselves to a higher standard, Harvard Business Review suggested. Only following the basic requirements can actually hinder business. Companies will need separate systems to manage the various parts of the business. By making more sustainable implementations early on, these organizations will be able to create a more streamlined workflow and can see an increase in efficiency and production.

Sustainability changes take time, and eco-friendly corporations may also have more sway over the agencies that create new regulations, the source explained. If businesses are already working to make their supply chains environmentally friendly, they may find that government organizations are willing to give them the time they need to implement new systems.

Many businesses also save money by making their processes greener. Reusing old products, recycling scrap materials, reducing water usage, limiting transportation and creating sustainable resources can significantly cut expenses and lead to a better bottom line.

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