CJA is designed specifically to bring more business to high-performing (i.e., reduced deforestation) jurisdictions. “Preferential sourcing” connotes increasing or extending the business in a jurisdiction, most likely in sourcing volumes. By increasing preferential sourcing companies will provide additional incentives (in the form of improved market access) to jurisdictional leaders and their constituencies to continue reducing deforestation. Specific application will be flexible, adapted to company supply chains, commodity, and geography. Also, there are no contractual or legally binding commitments imposed on any parties by CJA; these are voluntary agreements with transparency as the primary accountability mechanism. Preferential sourcing goals should be communicated transparently and visibly so that jurisdictional leaders understand the causal link between increased or extended procurement and improved jurisdictional sustainability.
CJA does not advocate divestment from jurisdictions that have not yet met or are unable to meet CJA criteria (e.g., due to high risk of deforestation). Rather, it encourages expanding/extending procurement agreements in performing jurisdictions and meeting new demand in these places where feasible. In this way, CJA focuses on the positive signal companies can send in support of scaled progress on addressing deforestation by associating their business with this progress. Where companies currently source from jurisdictions with higher deforestation risk, it is critical that companies remain engaged and leverage their business to help get these jurisdictions on a path toward lower deforestation; however, this is not the dynamic CJA is designed to facilitate.
If a jurisdiction has met CJA criteria, this means it is implementing a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder initiative (and related safeguards) that address relevant drivers of deforestation, including illegal and/or unsustainable activities where applicable. Meeting these criteria is not an alternative to verified deforestation-free production (unless/until a jurisdiction meets this level of performance). It is possible for “laggards” to slip through the CJA filter, which is a trade-off to directing incentives to deforestation performance at scale. To address this gap, companies are encouraged to procure verified deforestation-free products from within a performing jurisdiction, creating positive market signals at two levels.
By purposefully bringing business to CJA-eligible jurisdictions, companies support ambitious jurisdictional initiatives (e.g., REDD+ programs) that are verifiably reducing deforestation and degradation at scale. Strengthened market access and investment help governments and implementing partners to move toward jurisdiction-wide deforestation-free goals. Companies that align their business with such initiatives can claim that they are supporting scaled efforts to address the systemic issues driving deforestation in these regions.
CJA is consistent with the Accountability Framework’s approach to jurisdictional sourcing. Like CJA, the Accountability Framework notes that companies can provide strong market signals in support of scaled efforts to address deforestation, conversion, and human rights challenges by preferentially sourcing from suppliers that meet company commitments and are located in jurisdictions that are making progress against these objectives. Where suppliers are not aligned with Accountability Framework guidance (e.g., they are driving deforestation), the Framework advises companies to engage these suppliers to bring them back into alignment rather than shift their sourcing to less risky regions. CJA similarly does not advocate divestment from areas with high levels of deforestation (see above).
These are too often framed as competing approaches; instead, but they are in fact complementary. Companies need to meet their supply chain commitments, and BOTH production-unit level verification and jurisdictional level engagement and incentives are ways to get there. A few scenarios for procurement prioritization could include:
- Verified Deforestation/Conversion-free product is available from performing and non-performing jurisdictions; purchase from the performing jurisdiction and leverage your buying power for sustainability performance at two scales.
- There is no verified Deforestation/Conversion-free product available; purchase from a performing jurisdiction where you can reduce risks and support stepwise progress at scale.
- There is a verified Deforestation/Conversion-free product from non-performing jurisdiction(s), but none from performing jurisdictions. Purchase verified deforestation-free products but also get engaged in supporting non-performing jurisdictions to get to broader sustainability performance.
In addition to aligning with the Paris Agreement, CJA’s criteria are aligned with those of two other global initiatives that assess jurisdictional/landscape initiatives: FCPF and VCS-JNR. Both FCPF Carbon Fund and VCS Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ (scenarios 2 and 3) have been assessed against CJA criteria for compliance. Jurisdictions that meet the requirements of these initiatives are presumed to meet CJA’s criteria. Also, several organizations/initiatives that promote jurisdictional/landscape initiatives are participants in CJA’s multi-stakeholder consortium (‘aka’ Brain Trust).
CJA itself does not produce original data on forest cover or deforestation. However, CJA's eligibility criteria require detailed and transparent deforestation analyses from qualifying jurisdictions, consistent with the REDD+ requirements under the UNFCCC and recognized standards like those embedded in the FCPF Carbon Fund and VCS’s jurisdictional and nested REDD methodology.
These jurisdiction owned estimates of deforestation are fine-tuned to national circumstances, vegetation types, etc. to minimize uncertainty and must be regularly updated and third- party- verified. Specifically, to become (and remain) eligible under CJA, jurisdictions must have transparent forest monitoring systems in place to monitor deforestation and degradation against an assessed reference level.
Jurisdictional initiatives target and seek to reduce activities that result in deforestation, yet there is a risk that such activities may displace, or “leak”, deforestation and/or forest degradation to other areas within the jurisdiction or beyond its borders. Addressing leakage is a complex challenge at all scales, which is why CJA should be viewed as one of several complementary approaches, including engaging in high-risk jurisdictions.
CJA partially addresses leakage by taking performance to jurisdictional scales, where displacement is less likely than at the farm- or forest-level scale, and aligning with national accounting systems to monitor deforestation and land use change. Further, the standards that align with CJA’s assessment criteria (FCPF-CF and VCS JNR) have built-in mechanisms to monitor and minimize leakage, including via programmatic design measures that directly address drivers of deforestation and degradation and risk of leakage.
Few approaches, if any, are currently resulting in no deforestation across entire geographies. In the near-term, a certain level of deforestation may be allowable under CJA, but only if overall deforestation rates are being reduced from historical levels. Under CJA eligibility criteria, each successive program period of a jurisdictional initiative must reflect increased ambition on reducing deforestation and demonstrated progress against that ambition, yielding continuous improvement toward the ultimate goal of ending deforestation from agricultural commodity production.
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