Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Six million football pitches

Okay, Okay. It's a PR email. 'About football pitches, boss?!' Yes, Voice, six million of them. The maps are missing. We don't know where they are. 'We don't know where the, uh ... maps are?' Don't be such a bloody idiot, man! We don't know where the football pitches are. 'Oh. Where should they be?' In the jungle, somewhere. 'The jungle?! This isn't making any sense, boss.' Shut up! 'Maybe you should copy and paste a bit of the email, so that everyone knows what you're going on about.' Okay, okay. Here -

Efforts to monitor and manage the impacts of the tropical forestry sector are being hindered, due to many companies failing to accurately disclose where they operate - leaving biodiverse forests at risk of unsustainable exploitation. This is just one finding of an in-depth evaluation of forestry companies, published today on 18 July 2018 by ZSL (Zoological Society of London).

Uh. Obviously, this has got nothing to do with finance, dear reader(s), but I sometimes receive random emails like this and ... NO ONE has sent me any hedge fund emails, so you can't blame me. I've got to work with the material I'm given. You dig? / Anyway ...

In assessing 50 of the world's most significant tropical timber and pulp producers, ZSL's SPOTT (Sustainability Policy Transparency Toolkit) found that most are failing to publish accurate maps of their operations. With 2017 the second worst year on record for tropical tree cover loss, the forestry sector must now move to publish maps that support independent monitoring of corporate commitments targeted at addressing risks to forests.

Okay, okay. 'What about the football pitches?' Ha! You want football pitches, baby, you got them!

ZSL's SPOTT assessments cover timber and pulp producers with combined land holdings of over 350,000 square kilometres, an area the size of Germany. In the latest annual assessments, only eight companies were found to publish clear and comprehensive maps of their forestry operations, while 27 companies disclosed incomplete information. A further 15 companies do not provide any suitable maps of their operations, meaning the location of over 45,000 square kilometres - or over six million football pitches - of forestry operations remains unclear.

You see? Football pitches. Six million of them. Very clever too, considering that the World Cup has just finished.

To increase accountability, the tropical forestry sector should freely publish digitized maps that allow the exact locations and boundaries of their operations to be identified. Certification schemes such as the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for Endorsement of Forestry Certification) should also take steps to encourage the publication of certified companies' mapped boundaries.

Er ... / Hang on, everyone! We've got a finance quote. Look! 'Oh, thank God!' Yes! This is awesome!

Robert-Alexandre Poujade, ESG Analyst at BNP Paribas Asset Management, said: "Responsible investors and banking institutions are increasingly aware of the impact that unsustainable commodity production can have on forests globally. Tools relying on satellite imagery are already proving crucial in tracking deforestation, but the loop can only be closed when companies publicly disclose the exact location of their operations."

Nice one, Bobby-Alex! You've probably saved my skin today. I mean, I don't want the readers getting angry.

Right. Obviously, the solution to this problem is for Elon Musk to get into his flying Iron Man suit thing and, uh ... well, fly over the forests to get a proper idea of what's going on. 'Ha! I don't think that's wise, boss.' Ha! Maybe not. Never mind. It's just a suggestion, man.