Three U.S. companies were recognized for their sustainability efforts as part of an initiative to reduce dependence on products—such as soy, palm oil, timber, cattle products and biofuels—linked to deforestation pressures.
The United Kingdom-based Forest Footprints Disclosure Project was launched in June 2009 to survey participating companies about their operations and supply chains’ impacts on forests worldwide and what is being to done to manage those impacts. This year, the FFD survey was sent to 285 global companies, 87 of which were based in the U.S. Twelve U.S. companies agreed to disclose information, including major brands like PepsiCo, Avon, Best Buy and Lowe’s.
All participating companies were assigned to one of 13 sectors based on the nature of their business, including Food Products and Soft Drinks, Accessories and Footwear, and Travel and Leisure. In each sector, the best reports were singled out for the quality of the company’s supply chain management policy.
In this year’s survey, three U.S. companies demonstrating advanced understanding of their supply chains were selected as sector winners: Kimberly-Clark, winner of the Personal Care and Household Goods sector; Nike, winner of the Clothing, Accessories and Footwear sector; and Weyerhaeuser, joint winner in the Industrials, Construction and Autos sector.
Kimberly-Clark was the first major tissue company to require wood-fiber suppliers to gain independent certification for their fiber activities. Through its sourcing standards, the company has a stated preference for Forest Stewardship Certification standards, and it provides funding to map high-value conservation forests in Brazil and Indonesia.
“Kimberly-Clark has been integrating sustainability into all aspects of our business—from the design and manufacture of our products, to serving the communities where we operate and sell our portfolio of essential products,” says Suhas Apte, Kimberly-Clark’s vice president of global sustainability, in response to the recognition.
Likewise, Nike led its sector by taking action to avoid purchasing leather from areas of new deforestation. Weyerhaeuser is the leader in its sector for the second year in a row.
Now that the survey is completed, FFD will work with companies to explain forest risk, analyze how it might be reduced and deliver a feedback report to encourage higher scoring in future years. The FFD is backed by 56 major financial firms (representing more than $5 trillion in assets) that value information about how companies are reducing forest risk to guide their investment decisions.
Last year, the National Wildlife Federation helped launch the survey in the U.S., and as a result, the project has seen a significant increase in response from U.S.-based companies. Barbara Bramble, NWF international policy advisor, praised the companies and the broader effort.
“We cannot save our most precious forests without the active engagement of large companies, leading the way in demonstrating that sustainability is good business,” she says.
For a list of those companies contacted for participation in the FFD Project that did not disclose, visit the NWF website.