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February 13, 2012
Corporate Disclosure of Forest Footprints Is Improving
    by Robert Kropp

The Forest Footprint Disclosure Project publishes its third annual survey of voluntary corporate disclosure of risks and opportunities associated with forest risk commodities.

Deforestation and land conversion accounts for 17% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; on the hand, according to the Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD) Project of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), "Not converting forests to agricultural or other uses not only acts to limit carbon emissions, but also mitigates by absorbing carbon dioxide."

For its third annual review of corporate disclosure of risks and opportunities relating to deforestation through the use of forest risk commodities—timber, cattle products, soy, palm oil, and biofuels—FFD sent requests to 357 companies. The Project received 87 responses.

FFD ranked respondents in 12 industry sectors according to their voluntary responses in 11 key areas. FFD provides assessments of forest risk to respondents, as well as analysis on how risks can be mitigated. FFD then provides reports to respondents to help them improve their scores in future years.

Of the 357 companies contacted, 125 were based in the US. Twenty-two US companies responded, almost twice that of last year's survey. Nike and Kimberley Clark were sector leaders in the clothing and personal care products sectors, respectively.

Major additions among US respondents include Walt Disney and Johnson & Johnson.

The survey also highlighted the poor response rate of companies in the oil and gas sector. BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, and Valero Energy have declined to respond for all three years of the survey, and Petrobas for two. Greenergy International was ranked first among respondents in the sector.

The FFD Project has been endorsed by 70 institutional investors with over $7 trillion in assets under management. Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President of Sustainability Research and Policy at Calvert Investments, said, "Through this framework, we are able to benchmark companies and identify best practices, while companies themselves can learn from each other, and contribute towards building a more sustainable business model that would enhance our shareholder values."

Andrew Mitchell, FFD Chairman, said, "FFD is seeing good examples of corporate behavior change from some of the largest companies in the world. We hope to inspire many more to switch to a more sustainable business model and look forward to working with more organizations in addressing their use of forest risk commodities."


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