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10 Mar 2021


Destruction: Certified

Certification is not a solution to deforestation, forest degradation and other ecosystem conversion. In this report, we show how certification on its own has not helped companies meet their 2020 commitments to exclude deforestation from their supply chains.

The purpose of this report is to assess the effectiveness of (mainly voluntary) certification for land-based commodities as an instrument to address global deforestation, forest degradation and other ecosystem conversion and associated human rights abuses (including violations of Indigenous rights and labour rights). Ultimately the aim is to inform decision making by governments and companies on what role certification can play as a tool for cleaning up supply chains, what reforms are required and what other measures are needed to address the wider biodiversity and climate crises.

The analysis in this report shows that certification is a weak tool to address global forest and ecosystem destruction.

While some certification schemes have strong standards, weak implementation combined with a lack of transparency and product traceability means even these schemes have major failings. Too many certified companies continue to be linked to forest and ecosystem destruction, land disputes and human rights abuses. Currently, certification enables destructive businesses to continue operating as usual. By improving the image of forest and ecosystem risk commodities and so stimulating demand, certification risks actually increasing the harm caused by the expansion of commodity production. Certification schemes thus end up greenwashing products linked to deforestation, ecosystem destruction and rights abuses.