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Investor concern for forests: Can shareholders prompt companies to take action?

31 Jul 2017

Commercial agricultural production caused nearly three-quarters of tropical forest loss between 2000 and 2012. A growing number of the companies producing and procuring agricultural commodities are making commitments on deforestation. Yet the rate of policy adoption, let alone implementation, is too slow to fully address the climate impacts.

Investors are demanding stronger sustainability commitments, and some are using shareholder resolutions – proposals filed by shareholders in public companies – to do this. Since 2010, around 40% of proposals in the U.S. have focused on environmental and sustainability issues. A small number have focused specifically on forest loss driven by agricultural commodity production. What is the potential for such proposals to drive much needed action to meet 2020 deforestation targets?

This report examines the content, targets, and company responses to resolutions catalogued by the Ceres Investor Network, focusing particularly on resolutions filed with Forest 500 companies, the powerbrokers of deforestation to explore the influence of these shareholder resolutions.