Protecting biodiversity with deforestation-free supply chains

News in the Framework of the European Business & Biodiversity Campaign


Protecting biodiversity with deforestation-free supply chains

How can we bring the private sector and environmental protection – and biodiversity conservation in particular – closer together and motivate companies to conserve our natural resources? The UBi Dialogue Forum in Berlin provided answers.

© Julia Späth
06/17/2022: On June 09, the Dialogue Forum 2022 of "Unternehmen Biologische Vielfalt - UBi" took place as a hybrid event at the Allianzforum in Berlin. High-profile welcoming speeches from national and international politics were followed by an exciting panel discussion on the question "How to succeed in transformative change for biodiversity in times of multiple crises?" At the subsequent fishbowl, participants were able to engage directly with the experts on stage and join in the discussion - an opportunity that was used intensively. In the "Practical examples" section of the program, the new UBi project presented topic- and sector-specific activities and companies that want to contribute to transformative change and inspire other stakeholders. In the afternoon, participants could choose between 3 parallel thematic forums that offered the opportunity for in-depth discussion of selected biodiversity topics:
  • Finance and Biodiversity as Levers for Transformative Change in the Real Economy.
  • Biodiversity accounting - concrete approaches for strategic change
  • Biodiversity in the supply chain - recent developments
The forum "Biodiversity in the Supply Chain - Latest Developments" featured Gunnar Heller (WWF), Sascha Liese (Symrise AG) and GNF staff member and ELAN project manager Steffen Kemper as speakers.

Gunnar Heller presented WWF's work on an innovative tool for assessing biodiversity risk along supply chains, the so-called Biodiversity Risk Filter, which is expected to be published in 2023. This will assess and prioritize operational and site-specific risks and identify targeted measures to address them.

Sascha Liese presented Symrise AG and its commitment to biodiversity protection. Symrise sources more than 10,000 raw materials from nature for its approximately 30,000 products. For this reason, the company is committed to nature with numerous initiatives on a global level and consistently drives sustainable backward integration for its own raw materials. The company is aware that only intact ecosystems can continue to supply the ingredients for fragrance, taste, nutrition and care in the future. In this context, the traceability of supply chains is seen as a central element in the protection of biodiversity. Symrise aims to source 90% of its purchasing volume from verified sustainable sources by 2025 and even make its strategic raw materials fully traceable.

The issue of traceability of supply chains back to the origin of raw material production also plays a crucial role for Steffen Kemper. In the ELAN project on deforestation-free supply chains, the Global Nature Fund and the tropical forest foundation OroVerde are dealing, among other things, with the hotly debated EU regulation against imported deforestation. Establishing traceability of agricultural supply chains for certain high-risk commodities is to become a central element of the planned due diligence obligations for companies and, with regard to financing and technical feasibility, is at the same time one of the most controversial points in the proposed regulation.

In his presentation, Steffen Kemper explained and illustrated the connection between deforestation and biodiversity loss, but also emphasized the great potential that deforestation-free supply chains hold to preserve biodiversity: "Stopping deforestation means protecting climate and biodiversity." "Furthermore, see the planned EU regulation as an opportunity to become an early player in the market for deforestation-free products," he appealed to the participating companies.

Support for implementing deforestation-free supply chains will be provided by the online atlas currently being developed by the ELAN project team. The portal will provide a wide range of information on high-risk commodities, certifications and standards, and will present a selection of useful tools to help companies figure out their own deforestation footprint or identify deforestation risks in their supply chains. The online atlas will be available free of charge to all companies and interested parties from spring 2024.

Would you like to gain early insight into the online atlas and get involved in the development process? You can do that as a pilot company and are very welcome to contact Steffen Kemper to do so.

Author: Steffen Kemper, Project Manager Global Nature Fund, +49 228 184 86 94 16