Eliminating overfishing and the degradation of ecosystems that result from the production of globally traded agriculture and seafood commodities
To feed the demands of a burgeoning and protein-hungry middle class, projected unchecked agriculture production could result in the global loss of natural vegetation to pasture and cropland by 2050 of four to seven million square kilometers. This would come mostly at the expense of tropical forests and savannas, their irreplaceable biodiversity and the local and global ecosystem services they provide.
That’s why we are working with our grantees toward implementation of deforestation-free sourcing commitments from a critical mass of leading companies purchasing and distributing soy and beef, so that deforestation from production of these commodities has been eliminated without displacement from their supply chains.
Our partners have been setting improved sourcing standards, establishing effective and verifiable traceability systems, unlocking financial incentives and encouraging the adoption of better production practices for soy and beef in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado, and the Gran Chaco in Argentina and Paraguay.
A complex web of root causes including economic incentives aligned with overexploitation rather than good stewardship, de facto open-access fishing and fisheries governance, insufficient data and weak enforcement make optimal management of the world’s fisheries and aquaculture farms challenging. Today, 85 percent of the world’s fish stocks are fully exploited or in decline. Now more than ever, maintaining the productive capacity and integrity of marine ecosystems requires that we catch and produce seafood without engendering severe ecological impacts. We believe marine ecosystems can be safeguarded by re-orienting market demand for seafood and the decision-making systems that drive conservation solutions.
In collaboration with the private sector, our grant recipients are demonstrating the market value of improved fisheries and farm management, so that companies — and consumers — have the incentive to transition and help drive wide reform.
We are working with key partners to protect marine and coastal ecosystems by encouraging leading companies to implement sustainable sourcing commitments for top-traded seafood commodities, and, without displacement, to eliminate overfishing and coastal habitat degradation from their supply chains, ultimately fostering responsible fishing and aquaculture as the marketplace norm.
Companies have already begun seeking better information to evaluate their risk exposure, as well as recognition and reward from the financial sector for leadership in more sustainable management. Through mainstream financial markets, we aim to adjust business incentives in the food sector and harness the momentum from production practices that conserve, rather than damage, natural ecosystems.
With the right market information and incentives in place — operating at the needed scale — we believe we can work to meet present and future food demand while averting deforestation, overfishing and other harmful impacts on natural ecosystems.
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