This week: Simon Hall, senior manager for tropical forests and agriculture at the National Wildlife Federation, discusses why the best approach to company deforestation risks have evolved from dealing with immediate reputation crises into a more thoughtful and strategic approach. There’s a need to think about units of production, traceability through supply chains, reporting and providing information, and verification of the process.

Plus: tree loss up 12% in 2020 says Global Forest Watch; carbon offsets review at the Nature Conservancy; and, H+M launches new Innovation Stories series, in the news digest.

Host: Ian Welsh


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Jon Entine, who leads the Genetic Literacy Project, a science communication non-profit, joins Innovation Forum’s Toby Webb to discuss chemicals and science in agriculture. Their robust discussion covers topics such as glyphosate, copper sulphate, gene editing and the science and impacts of both synthetic and organic chemicals in food and wine.

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This week: Oxfam America’s Matt Hamilton discusses the conclusions from the new Shining a Spotlight report into progress on commitments and implementation at the world’s biggest food and beverages brands. This looks into progress over the five years since Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign that focused attention on brand supply chain impacts on climate change, and environmental and social issues more generally. While brands have set stretching global goals, making progress on-the-ground is where the real challenges remain.

Plus: 20% of big business now committed to net zero; why climate change will impact national credit ratings; Tesco’s climate manifesto; and, peak meat in 2025, in the news digest.

Host: Ian Welsh

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In the first of an occasional podcast series, sustainability expert Simon Lord and Innovation Forum’s Toby Webb talk about some of the challenges around reforestation and forest restoration. They discuss why it’s often simpler to just plant more trees rather than try to restore degraded forest – but that just planting without proper planning can lead to monoculture and will not recreate biodiversity and soil fertility. 

Some useful links:

The challenges of forest restoration:

Jeff Tkach, chief impact officer at the Rodale Institute, and Innovation Forum’s Toby Webb talk about how regenerative apparel should be defined, and what can be learnt from the innovation in regenerative agriculture more broadly. They also debate why regenerative is not reinventing the sustainable apparel wheel or the latest greenwash fad.

This discussion was part of a workshop held by Innovation Forum ahead of the sustainable apparel and textiles conference to be held online on 27th-29th April. Full details here. Delegates have access to the full workshop recording.

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This week: Heather Tansey, sustainability director for animal nutrition and health, talks about the innovations that can tackle methane emissions in dairy and beef cattle. And, Ruth Farrell, textiles marketing director at Eastman Naia talks with Andrés Ortolana, chain of custody manager at FSC Italy about developing sustainable wood fibre supply for the apparel sector.

Host: Ian Welsh  

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Reflecting on recent Innovation Forum research, one of the project partners, Silke Peters, team leader in the sustainable agriculture supply chains and standards programme at GIZ, talks with Ian Welsh about some of the solutions that make a difference to smallholder farm incomes. She highlights diversification of crops, with essential access to markets and long term relationships with buyers, as crucial elements in developing real resilience. They also discuss cross commodity solutions more generally.   

To download Innovation Forum’s Innovation Accelerator: Building resilient smallholder supply chains report click here.

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Toby Webb speaks with Grant Rosoman, senior forests campaigner at Greenpeace, about the organisation’s new report – Destruction: Certified. The discussion includes reference to Ikea, FSC, RSPO, soy certification, Rainforest Alliance and other schemes.

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Gotz Martin, head of sustainability implementation at Golden Agri-Resources, explains why food systems face a big problem if smallholder farming communities can’t become more resilient and escape endemic poverty traps. He outlines some of the factors necessary to achieve this. While strong palm oil prices can help in the short term, there are clear deforestation risks if the sector as a whole expands to meet demand.

Plus: new Greenpeace report slams forest certification schemes; 8bn drinks containers thrown away in the UK says CPRE; Oxfam research says big food and beverage companies unable to translate effectively global commitments to local level; and, shipping sector aims for $5bn zero emissions research fund, in the news roundup.

Host: Ian Welsh

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Business has lost its purpose, says Prof Andy Hoffman from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, talking with Ian Welsh. He says that, in the face of crises such as climate change and income inequality, a restructure of how companies regard success is now required.

Hoffman argues the case for corporate legacy, meaning and purpose and not just pursuit of profit above all else, and embedding environmental and social issues across business school curricula – not in sustainability siloes.

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