Cultivating production of key deforestation-free agricultural 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 projected production would come mostly at the expense of tropical forests and savannas, their irreplaceable biodiversity and the local and global ecosystem services they provide. But we believe a more systemic solution can play a meaningful role, at the needed scale, in conserving these critical ecosystems.

Together with our grantees, we’re engaging with the private sector and focusing on soy and beef production—in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado, and the Chaco in Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia—to shift practices towards improved agricultural production of these globally traded commodities. Specifically, this means that we are working toward implementation of deforestation-free sourcing commitments from a critical mass of leading companies purchasing and distributing soy and beef, so that deforestation in these places, which results from soy and beef production, has been eliminated without displacement from their supply chains.

Three different strategies will be employed, targeted at the following outcomes:

  • Private Sector Leadership: Retailers, brands and soy traders and meatpackers demonstrate meaningful progress in adopting and implementing harmonized verified deforestation-free (VDF) sourcing commitments across their entire supply chains stemming from the Amazon and Cerrado in Brazil, and the Chaco in Argentina and Paraguay.
  • Transparency: Companies demonstrate robust transparency in the implementation of VDF commitments, resulting in measurable reductions in deforestation and illegality across the beef and soy sectors in the target geographies.
  • Aligning Capital: Financial institutions channel a meaningful increase of capital toward VDF-related practices in target geographies.

Our grantees have been setting improved sourcing standards, establishing effective and verifiable traceability systems, and encouraging the adoption of better production practices for soy and beef. The Forests and Agriculture Initiative is interlinked with and designed to complement our Ocean and Seafood Markets Initiative and our Conservation and Financial Markets Initiative. Ultimately, we believe our agricultural markets work will contribute to the elimination of the loss and degradation of Earth’s tropical and sub-tropical forest ecosystems. 

A collaboration for forests and agriculture

To help achieve these outcomes, the following partners with specialized areas of expertise form a collaboration to focus a significant amount of the initiative's strategy and resources: National Wildlife Federation (GBMF5222), The Nature Conservancy (GBMF5220), World Wildlife Fund (GBMF5219) and the Moore Foundation.

Fifty percent of the funding for the collaboration will be re-granted to additional organizations whose expertise may be identified as necessary to achieve initiative goals. Questions about these new collaborations may be directed to the foundation, at

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Working to eliminate the loss and degradation of tropical and sub-tropical forest ecosystems that result from the increasing production of globally traded agricultural commodities


Global agriculture

Agriculture covers nearly 40 percent of all the world’s ice-free land.
  • first award

    Jul 2013

  • grants to date


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