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2018 Vol.3
Tropical Rainforest Conservation as an ESG Issue

New Strategies Driven by the Private-Sector Resources


Tropical deforestation and forest degradation are still unsolved environmental issues that face us today. The fact that both the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals include forest conservation is clear evidence showing the importance of these issues. To resolve the issues, however, financial issues must be overcome. In the past, the governments of developed countries have financially supported various efforts to conserve tropical rainforests. However, long-term conservation of tropical rainforests is quite difficult to achieve if it solely relies on such government funds, because developed countries, which face the issue of tight budget, do not have enough extra funds for tropical rainforest conservation. Thus, with the rising awareness of the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) concept, which provides a good opportunity, we must make serious efforts to mobilize the private-sector resources. In promoting the private-sector resource mobilization, a non-conventional approach is required. Focus must be shifted away from conventional CSR activities, which emphasize contributing to society, and onto integration of tropical rainforest conservation into profit-generating business activities. What is important is not that the private-sector firms themselves plan and implement conservation activities and bear relevant costs, but that firms take a new approach.one in which they use resources for their core business activities, which in turn contribute to tropical rainforest conservation as a co-benefit of their business activities. Some firms have already started to take such an approach. Promoting this approach requires not only firms’ further efforts, but also the government’s efforts to meticulously seek out new efforts of firms and support those that are willing to actively engage in tropical rainforest conservation.