Livestock, especially beef, is by far the largest driver of deforestation, according to Climate Focus, an international think-tank that provides data to shape climate policies. Its report, Eliminating Deforestation from the Production of Agricultural Commoditieslists beef, pigs and poultry, soy, and maize as agricultural commodities linked to more deforestation than palm oil.

The report also compared corporate sustainability commitments compared to these four drivers. Just 12 percent of companies have pledges relating to beef, yet 59 percent have palm oil pledges. “This is a matter of concern, considering that cattle have a deforestation footprint that is nine-times larger than the one associated with palm oil,” the report states.

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concurs that livestock is the largest driver of deforestation in the world.

There is no debate that palm oil cultivation has been linked to deforestation. That said, responsible palm oil growers – those who produce certified sustainable palm oil – must abide by standards which prohibit clearing primary forests for palm plantations.

Deforestation and agriculture

Source: Progress on the New York Declaration on Forests Eliminating Deforestation from the Production of Agricultural Commodities, climatefocus.com

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