Dispatches from UN Climate Summit

Unilever joins pledge to end deforestation at UN Climate Summit

By Andrew MCDOUGALL contact

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever joins pledge to end deforestation at UN Climate Summit

Related tags: Carbon dioxide, Unilever

Anglo-Dutch consumer giant Unilever joins and welcomes the pledge by dozens of global leaders to reduce global warming pollution and try to put an end to deforestation.

The first global timeline to slow and end natural forest loss was unveiled at the UN Climate Summit in New York and the Dove skin care maker joined others in announcing individual commitments to help reach that goal.

This new pledge will be the first time in history that a critical mass of developed and developing country world leaders have partnered around such a target.

Consumer influence

Speaking at the event this week, Paul Polman, CEO Unilever comments: “The last few months have seen a welcome race to the top. Consumers have sent companies a clear signal that they do not want their purchasing habits to drive deforestation and companies are responding.”

“Better still, companies are committing to working in partnership with suppliers, governments and NGOs to strengthen forest governance and economic incentives. It can be done and this Declaration signals a real intention to accelerate action.”

Action on forest loss was the focal point of the UN Climate Summit and by joining others for the announcement of the New York Declaration on Forests, Unilever becomes one of a growing number of companies that have pledged to rid their supply chains of deforestation.

Ending deforestation

The plan is that this group of global leaders, companies and NGOs across the world will cut forest loss in half by 2020 and end it by 2030, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by billions of tons.

More than 1.6 billion people worldwide depend directly on forests for food, medicines and fuel. This includes approximately 60 million indigenous people who are almost entirely dependent on forests for their lives and livelihoods.

A global pledge is viewed as a crucial step towards sustainable development with forests a critical ecosystem that harbours rich biodiversity and helps combat desertification and land degradation while also delivering food security for communities.

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