Deforestation and Declining Biodiversity

Deforestation is responsible for approximately 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions. A loss of forest cover also reduces the earth’s ability to absorb the vast amounts of greenhouse emissions created by human industry. 18.7 million acres of forests are lost annually to deforestation, making it the leading cause of declining biodiversity on earth.

Agriculture is a major driver of forest clearing for land and animal grazing. In addition to palm oil, soy, forest products (such as paper), and beef are responsible for approximately half of all tropical deforestation. The state of global forests is worsening, as demand for food commodities is expected to nearly double by 2050. Consumer brands often purchase commodity grains and oils but don’t manage land or raise animals, distancing them from the realities of deforestation.


Much of the deforestation attributable to large companies in developed markets takes place in their supply chains, where there is little public transparency. Forest 500, a project of the Global Canopy Programme, identifies the 500 global companies who have the most power to combat this issue in their operations and supply chains. Forest 500 then ranks each company on a scale of 1-5, depending on the strength (or weakness) of their anti-deforestation policies. OpenInvest divests from any company with a rank lower than 4.

Additional Information

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations