MINNEAPOLIS — Cargill has formed a new Land Use and Forest Protection Advisory Panel to increase progress across supply chains. The panel also will serve as the basis for the input of global partners and non-governmental organizations (N.G.O.s).

The panel is designed to implement strategies and make sure resources supporting Cargill’s forest commitments are adequate to deliver positive socio-economic and environmental impact.

It will build on the company’s existing work with advisers and thought leaders, which resulted in a revised Global Forest Policy and accompanying Land Use Operating Guidelines in the past two years, both of which are now being actively implemented across the company’s businesses.

“Pulling this group of experts together ensures we continue to learn from a wide variety of perspectives on what more we can do to achieve our goal of ending deforestation across our key supply chains,” said Ruth Kimmelshue, Cargill’s chief sustainability officer and business operations and supply chain lead. “We’re up against some tough challenges, but we are uniquely positioned to connect people, the planet and products to make solutions possible.”

Founding members of the panel include:

  • Justin Adams, Tropical Forest Alliance
  • John Buchanan, Conservation International
  • Laura de Santis Prada, Imaflora
  • Maria Giraudo, Global Farmer Network
  • Marcos Sawaya Jank, INSPER
  • Roz Naylor, Stanford University
  • Carlos Ortiz, Independent Agribusiness Advisor
  • Anne Rosenbarger, World Resources Institute
  • Nigel Sizer, Rainforest Alliance

Brendan May, chairman of Robertsbridge, a global sustainability advisory firm, will chair the panel. May is the former chief executive of the Marine Stewardship Council and was European chairman of the Rainforest Alliance from 2009-13.

“As Cargill moves to further scale action on deforestation, this is a significant opportunity to deepen the dialogue between the company and its range of stakeholders across the civil society and agricultural landscape,” Mr. May said. “The panel is there to challenge and encourage Cargill to be bolder and I look forward to working with the panel members to provide constructive inputs to help Cargill further stretch its ambitions.”

The first meeting of the panel will take place in October, with a follow-up convening scheduled for the first quarter of 2020. Ms. Kimmelshue will lead Cargill’s engagement with the panel, and will report its findings to David W. MacLennan, chairman and c.e.o. of Cargill. Public summaries of meeting agendas and minutes will be available to ensure full transparency of the panel’s work and guidance to Cargill.

“We believe the private sector has an important role to play in finding solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges,” Ms. Kimmelshue said. “From addressing climate change, to protecting natural resources and improving food security, the advisory panel will help us make the future of food more sustainable.”

In addition to forming the independent advisory panel, Cargill has made progress on its commitments outlined in the company’s South American Soy Action Plan, enacted in June 2019. This includes the initiation of a risk assessment of its soy supply chain direct and indirect suppliers and publication of a Risk Assessment Methodology.

The company also is working to advance its $30 million pledge, which focuses on sourcing and supporting innovative ideas to protect forests and native vegetation in South America. Cargill plans to announce a start-up accelerator to find solutions to the deforestation challenges in Brazil. Start-ups with relevant business models, technology and expertise are invited to apply, providing an opportunity to connect their ideas with funding and subject matter experts to quickly implement solutions on the ground. Cargill is seeking an administrator to manage a portion of its contributions, along with the contributions from industry partners joining the fund.