Despite international agreements, an analysis carried out by the Zoological Society of London reveals widespread failure of timber companies to guarantee environmental protections for at least 11.7 million hectares of tropical forest.
The new analysis of 100 of the most significant tropical timber and pulp companies shows that over half (54 percent) do not publicly commit to protecting biodiversity.
Almost half of those companies (44 percent) have yet to publicly commit to zero-deforestation, said the study.
Only 37 percent provide evidence of conservation, such as restoring river habitats or planting native species in degraded areas, as just 13 percent report actively monitoring for deforestation throughout the areas they manage, said the study.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the risk of zoonotic diseases. Forest destruction and degradation, and the loss of biodiversity within ecosystems, are known to increase the risk of viral spill-over and make future pandemics more likely, said the study.
With forestry operations and trade ministries worldwide keen to boost exports following the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic, governments and industry must insist on improving sustainability standards and driving a green agenda, it noted. Enditem