Communicate the impacts of consuming forest-risk commodities to city residents.
City governments are often well-versed in strategies to encourage better consumption habits of city residents, often through public awareness campaigns. Usually this is for the benefit of certain public services, such as waste management, business improvement areas, or city-sponsored social programs. However, these campaigns have potential to touch on larger, extrajurisdictional issues such as environmental stewardship, local entrepreneurship, and social sustainability.
Initiate public awareness campaigns on particular products to reduce resident and businesses’ consumption of products linked to tropical deforestation and what city residents and businesses can do about the issue. For example:
Use a local case of commodity-driven deforestation to promote a larger message of commodity-driven deforestation outside of cities. Work with local NGOs and community groups on initiating or joining forest-positive campaigns. Rainforest Foundation Norway launched an anti-palm oil campaign that ignited changes in consumer behavior, convinced a supermarket chain to make their brand products go palm oil free, and even caused the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global to divest from all palm oil companies.
Provide recommendations of sustainability criteria for resident purchases and waste reduction supporting tropical forests and forest communities. See the Cool Food pledge for strategies on influencing consumption choices for food, and Cities4Forests Sustainable Wood for Cities for wood products.
Initiate a city-wide survey of household consumption of problematic forest-risk commodities to track progress and measure change over time. This could be a partnership with a local university, research institution, or NGO and could be planned with provision to scale up over time. For example:
In 2003 the city of Cardiff (UK) partnered with local university researchers to survey local consumption habits and conduct ecological footprint, nutritional, and economic analyses. The study found that Cardiff resident’s food consumption made up a large share of the city’s ecological footprint, and presented a number of strategies to reduce this by up to 39%.
Monitor progress on city commitments, and present these in a transparent manner to city residents (i.e. through yearly reporting). Monitor and identify city, metropolitan, state and/or national progress towards zero deforestation commitments. Reporting may also build on existing metrics, frameworks and initiatives such as UN SDGs, Paris Accord, the New York Declaration on Forests, the Amsterdam Declaration Partnership, or the Accountability Framework Initiative etc. to connect local leadership to international action.