With increasing major voluntary corporate commitments such as the New York Declaration on Forests, the private sector is becoming ever more aware of the responsibility it shoulders for ensuring its development projects and investments deliver zero deforestation. And where negative impacts are inevitable, then steps are taken to mitigate and offset. This is driven partly by shareholders, partly by international regulation, and partly by consumers.
Agriculture and extractive industries are central to the economic development plans of Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar and changing political and economic conditions, motivated by the goal of bringing the countries out of poverty, are prompting greater investment in agro-industry, hydropower, mining and other industries, both from private sector and state-owned enterprise. But weak regulatory frameworks for land governance, environmental impact assessment and tenure present risks to all stakeholders: local inhabitants, government, business sector developers, and financial investors.
WCS is working with the private sector to reduce deforestation associated with agriculture, extractive industries and hydropower in the GMS – identifying alternative options that meet companies’ economic goals without impacting on the environment.