2 November 2020
The report begins with an analysis of how ESG considerations have developed in the agribusiness and forestry sectors, reviewing the changing demands of customers and financiers, the proliferation of sustainability reporting and rating schemes, and how materiality in ESG should be defined for these sectors. [...] The literature shows that the interest of businesses in ESG goes beyond altruism and responds to economic interest in many ways – namely environmental and social risk reduction, premium enhancement, costs reduction, and gaining a competitive edge.6 4 Proliferation of ESG reporting schemes and ratings systems ESG reporting schemes and ratings have become increasingly important to companies wishing. [...] This is in response to pressure by governments and international agreements such as the Paris Agreement and the Amsterdam Declarations Partnership (which includes the Declaration on Deforestation and the Declaration on Sustainable Palm Oil). [...] Some of the larger companies interviewed for this report agreed that they are equipped to maintain their sustainability programmes and weather the economic downturn, as budgets for the year were planned prior to the onset of the pandemic. [...] These steps aim to help the sector and its stakeholders come to a common understanding over time of the material ESG factors, current gaps in aligning implementation with reporting, and actions to be taken so that robust sustainability standards and expectations are diffused across the supply chain.