Environmental sins jeopardise a company’s reputation and financial situation.

In the fight against global deforestation, Ethos has collected international best practices and summarised them in an Engagement Paper.# Its objective is to encourage companies to take action to prevent deforestation.

Every year, millions of hectares of forest are destroyed to be transformed into pasture, fields for agricultural crops or even mines. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, around 10 million hectares of forest per year were cleared between 2015 and 2020, an area approximately the size of Iceland. Forest degradation is responsible for about 15% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions and is a risk to our planet's biodiversity and ecosystems. This can result in financial and reputational risk for companies that are directly or indirectly involved in forest destruction.

Companies should reconsider their activities

Ethos Foundation, which promotes socially responsible investment, will initially engage seven multinational companies particularly exposed to deforestation risks. Ethos is convinced that these companies must act now and adopt measures to prevent deforestation. As part of its international shareholder dialogue programme - the Ethos Engagement Pool International (EEP International) - Ethos has collected best practices and published its findings in an Engagement Paper. This document presents six expectations Ethos has towards companies:

  1. Establish a “No Deforestation” policy.
  2. Commit to full traceability in the supply chain.
  3. Adopt a monitoring and verification system including a grievance mechanism.
  4. Engage with stakeholders and advocate to stop degrading forests.
  5. Support voluntary sustainability certification.
  6. Report on the implementation of the policy and the traceability commitment.


Companies must allocate the necessary resources to fight deforestation According to Vincent Kaufmann, CEO of Ethos, deforestation has a huge environmental impact and companies are not taking action. This remains a crucial issue for responsible investors. “As shareholder representatives, we want to engage companies along the agricultural value chain and measure their progress. These companies must implement without further delay rigorous global policies and allocate the necessary resources to fight deforestation” Kaufmann demands.

The campaign initially focuses on seven particularly exposed companies

This new engagement campaign led by Ethos on behalf of the 71 members of the EEP International (representing CHF 212 billion of assets under management) focuses initially on seven multinational companies. These companies are active along the beef and soy value chains and are particularly exposed to the problem of deforestation in the Amazon: Ahold Delhaize, Archer Daniels Midland, BRF Brasil Foods, Bunge, Carrefour, J Sainsbury, JBS. “Other producers, traders and retailers of agricultural products might be targeted in a second phase,” says Vincent Kaufmann.

About Ethos Foundation

The Ethos Foundation is composed of more than 220 tax-exempt Swiss pension funds and institutions. Founded in 1997, its aim is to promote socially responsible investment and to foster a stable and prosperous socio-economic environment.