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Root & Branch, How Forests Underpin the Sustainable Development Goals: A Briefing for Policymakers

March 12, 2018 |

By L. Shyamal (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

This briefing was developed by CDP.

“Forests are crucial to global sustainable development, affecting both the natural environment and economic prosperity. They are home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial species and provide clean water while preventing soil erosion and floods. For these reasons, more than 1.6 billion people rely on the benefits accrued from them, including sustenance, fuel and medicinal plants. The forestry sector has over 10 million employees worldwide and contributes billions to global GDP.

Yet, deforestation and forest degradation continue to take place worldwide at a rate of 3.3 million hectares per year 4 . The predominant driver of deforestation is agriculture, notably the trade of four key commodities: cattle products, palm oil, timber products and soy. With deforestation and forest degradation accounting for 15 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, tackling these issues is critical to sustainable development. In fact, it has been estimated that up to one third of the carbon mitigation efforts needed to avoid temperature rises below 2°C, can be achieved by addressing them.

The Paris Agreement recognizes the role of forests in carbon mitigation and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the United Nations in 2015, provide an outline to address deforestation and drive sustainable development. Two SDG goals explicitly mention forests in their targets (SDG6 & SDG15), however the SDGs are designed to be “integrated and indivisible” across all 17 goals balancing economic, social and environmental development.

Private sector actors have a decisive role to play in fulfilling the SDGs 6 and CDP is working closely with these actors. CDP identifies through its network of over 650 investor signatories, with US$ 87 trillion assets, that they are finding the SDGs a useful framework to fulfill their goals, consequently driving further corporate action as companies respond.

In 2017, 16 companies responding to CDP’s forest questionnaire explicitly mentioned the SDGs, such as Inditex and the Kellogg Company. Using CDP data 7 , this policy brief focuses on how forests underpin SDG 15 and several of the environmental-focused SDGs…”

Read on at: CDP.

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