Commenting on today’s report from Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, “Banking Beyond Deforestation”, on the finance sector’s response to deforestation, Jo Blackman, Head of Forest Policy and Advocacy at Global Witness said:         

“Voluntary banking initiatives like the Soft Commodities Compact have clearly failed to rein in banks’ financing of global deforestation, which is helping drive the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and human rights abuses around the world. Our research has shown that despite their membership of the Compact, banks including Barclays, Santander and Deutsche Bank have financed and facilitated companies linked to the destruction of climate-critical forests. Ineffective voluntary commitments are not working - there needs to be real accountability for the financial institutions that are bankrolling deforestation and forest-related human rights abuses.”

“While we welcome the report’s call for government regulation to ensure mandatory due diligence on deforestation risks in supply chains, banks cannot be let off the hook.”

“With new legislation on deforestation underway in the UK and planned in the EU, banks serious about ending  their key role in fuelling global deforestation should be publicly calling for robust rules that cover the finance sector and ensure real consequences for financial institutions that fail to act.”