US Announces Partnership with CEOs of Major Companies to Reduce Deforestation Through Sustainable Agriculture


The US Government says within 100 days it will co-host, alongside companies of the Consumer Goods Forum, a Partnership Dialogue in Washington DC.


* * * * *

RIO DE JANEIRO – The United States Government announced it would partner with companies of the Consumer Goods Forum, representing more than 400 companies and brands operating with combined annual revenues of over US$3.1 trillion, to support the Forum's pledge to achieve zero net deforestation in their supply chains by 2020.  The announcement was made at an event sponsored by non-profit Avoided Deforestation Partners on the margins of the Rio+20 summit.

Donald Steinberg, Deputy Administrator of USAID announced the US Government would co-host, alongside companies of the Consumer Goods Forum, a high-level Partnership Dialogue in Washington DC within 100 days that focused on promoting sustainable agriculture that protects forests. "No one company, NGO, or government has a monopoly on good ideas or can solve the problem of deforestation alone," Steinberg said.

Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency and alternate head of the United States delegation to the Rio+20 summit said she applauded the commitment made by companies of the Consumer Goods Forum and was pleased to see the development of this new partnership with the US Government. 

“Individually both governments and business have already mobilized significant resources to address the challenge of deforestation but we all recognize that much more can be achieved if we align our efforts and work in partnership,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever.

The Consumer Goods Forum is meeting concurrently in Istanbul this week.  Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-cola, was in Istanbul but joined the event by video and reiterated the Forum’s commitment to eliminate deforestation from their supply chain, in particular for commodities such as soy, palm oil, paper and beef—responsible for half of the world’s deforestation, he said.

The US Government invited other countries, companies, and civil society leaders to join the effort to develop joint policy recommendations and an action plan to promote sustainable food production, while also protecting and conserving forests.

“I am so pleased to see the United States Government and major companies beginning to take a leadership role in protecting the environment. We environmentalists can only do so much. It truly takes all of us working together to heal the planet,” said Jane Goodall, co-Chair of the event.

“The private sector needs to put people and the planet at the center of all we do,” said Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin Group. “Together we need to face critical challenges, including finding ways to harness and protect our natural assets—including the last remaining tropical forests.  The planet won’t wait.”

Ted Turner, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the second largest landowner in the United States, also voiced support. “The message of this event is very timely.  Our land-based resources are dwindling, and so we must be responsible stewards by reducing wasteful consumption and agricultural practices and promoting sustainable uses that protect the environment while continuing to feed growing populations,” he said.

Jeff Horowitz, founder of Avoided Deforestation Partners who organized the event was “extremely pleased to see governments and corporations make such extraordinary commitments”.  He added, “We believe this partnership can be a game changer with the potential to transform how we grow our food, fuel and fiber, with immediate and dramatic effects on efforts to slow, halt and reverse deforestation.”

About an acre of tropical rainforests are lost every second.  The clearing and burning of these forests are responsible for approximately 15 percent of global carbon emissions.  The event featured people from all walks of life—CEOs, scientists, high-level government officials, and NGO leaders—discussing the urgent need to transform agricultural practices in ways that benefit the environment and farmers while allowing consumers to avoid contributing to climate change in their daily purchases.



Agenda and Speakers

Rio+20 Earth Summit


By Invitation Only
Advancing Public-Private Partnerships for Deforestation-Free / Sustainable Agriculture


The Windsor Barra Hotel
Thursday, June 21, 2012 from 2:00 – 5:00 pm
(Reception to follow)




 Keynote Video Message:
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales


Welcoming Remarks from:
Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE - Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace


Perspectives on the Rio+20 Earth Summit
Maurice Strong - Former Under-Secretary General of the United Nations


* * * * * * *




Main Program



I. Protecting People, Forests, Water, and Climate: Setting the Stage for Real Solutions

Moderator: Julia Marton-LeFèvre - Director General, IUCN

  1. The Hon. Mary Robinson President of The Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice and former President of Ireland
  2. The Hon. Lisa Jackson Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  3. Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace


II. Public-Private Partnership Commitments to Establishing Deforestation-Free, Sustainable Agricultural Markets

Announcement by: Ambassador Donald Steinberg – Deputy Administrator, United States Agency for International Development

Video Address: Muhtar Kent Chairman and CEO, Coca Cola, on behalf of the CEOs of the Consumer Goods Forum

Remarks by: Paul Polman CEO, Unilever and Co-Chair, Consumer Goods Forum

Remarks by: The Hon. Bård Vegar Solhjell – Minister of the Environment, Norway

Moderator: Jonathan Pershing - Deputy Special Envoy For Climate Change, State Department, United States

  1. Dr. Zhang Songdan Deputy Director General, Dept of Resource Management, State Forestry Administration, China
  2. Olav Kjørven Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations Development Programme
  3. Jason Clay Senior Vice President, World Wildlife Fund-US
  4. Paul Polman CEO, Unilever and Co-Chair, Consumer Goods Forum

Video Presentation by Avoided Deforestation Partners:
“Imagine a World that is Deforestation-Free”


III. The Critical Role of Landscape Restoration: A Plan to Encourage Sustainable and Efficient Land Use Practices that Avoid Deforestation


Opening Remarks and Panel Moderation by: Dr. Ashok KhoslaPresident, IUCN

Remarks by: Bianca Jagger Plant a Pledge Campaign Ambassador, and Founder and Chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation

  1. Tim Rollinson, CBE Chair, Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration and Director General, Forestry Commission, Great Britain
  2. The Hon. Stanislas Kamanzi Minister of Natural Resources, The Republic of Rwanda
  3. Andrea Debbané Vice President of Environmental Affairs, Airbus, S.A.

Short Film by John Liu, narrated by Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE
“Restoring the Earth”


IV. A New Era of Cooperation: Public-Private Partnerships for Protecting People, Forests and Biodiversity

A Conversation on Sustainable Partnerships

Facilitated by: Jeff Horowitz - Founder, Avoided Deforestation Partners with
Sir Richard Branson - Founder, Virgin Group, and 
Edward Norton Actor, environmental activist and
UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE - Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace


* * * * * * *


For more information about the event, please contact Margaret Dick,




JGI News and Highlights

Featured Video

Walk in the footsteps of Jane Goodall with Google Maps

Featured Video

Featured Video

Saving Chimps From Snares (Graphic Images)!

This is the story of Mugu Moja, a young juvenile chimpanzee.