WWF report: Slow Road to Sustainability | WWF

WWF report: Slow Road to Sustainability

Posted on 14 June 2016
New WWF research shows that only a handful of leading consumer goods companies and retailers have taken meaningful action to source sustainably produced soft commodities derived from forestry, farming and fisheries despite commitments. 
The report "Slow Road to Sustainability": Sourcing Soft Commodities by Consumer Goods Forum Members - Report on Progress - reviews the policies and performance of the 256 brand manufacturer and retailer members of the CGF, representing combined annual sales of more than US$ 3.5 trillion globally. Given their number, size and diversity, CGF members constitute a meaningful sample for analysis on sourcing practices related to the 14 commodities WWF has prioritized for sustainable production because of their potential to contribute to deforestation, overfishing and water scarcity.
Analyzing annual reports, sustainability reports and websites, the report shows that a weighted average of just 14 per cent of relevant companies such as Kimberly-Clark, Waitrose, Unilever, Kao Corporation, Sofidel Group and Royal Ahold have made quantified time-bound commitments to source their required soft commodities such as palm oil, paper, soy, sugarcane or farmed fish according to the credible standards recommended by WWF.
Only 22 companies (or 9 per cent of those analyzed) have made quantified and time-bound commitments to source all or majority of the commodities needed for their business according to other credible certification standards. However, the details of some of the commitments remain imprecise, highlighting the broader issue of transparency. According to the report, only 42 per cent of the companies publish sustainability information in their annual report or a separate sustainability report.
WWF recognizes that companies alone cannot solve this global problem. All actors – including companies, governments, communities, consumers, financial institutions and NGOs – must recognize the impacts of commodity production and find ways to balance sustainable production with maintaining vital ecosystem services.   

WWF calls on member companies of the CGF, as well as non-member companies sourcing soft commodities, to commit publicly to source only credibly certified commodities for 100 per cent of their volume requirements by 2020. In addition, companies should publish quantified, time-bound action plans detailing how they will achieve their commitments. WWF also calls on the CGF Board to agree that all of its members will publish an annual sustainability report in 2018 at the latest, using Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines.