Did you know the food we eat is the main driver of deforestation? We hear from WWF and Tesco about why preserving our precious forests is vital to our existence. Find out what’s being done to preserve them, and how we can all help.

Sarah Wakefield, Head of Food Transformation, WWF-UK

Sarah Wakefield is the Head of Food Transformation at WWF-UK. She joined WWF in 2021 after a decade of experience in food retail, focused on ethics and sustainability. She leads WWF’s transformational food partnerships, engagement with the food industry, and oversees the Retailers’ Commitment to Nature launched at COP27 with the ambition of halving the impact of UK Baskets by 2030 as measured through the WWF Basket.

Steven Ripley, Group Responsible Sourcing Manager (Forests), Tesco

Conversation summary

  • The importance of forests and our dependence on them.
  • The main causes of deforestation (agriculture being the main driver).
  • Brazil’s role with safeguarding the Amazon rainforest.
  • The tipping point for the Amazon.
  • The history of deforestation.
  • Soy’s indirect effect on deforestation.
  • The focus is now on the requirement for transparency.
  • UK soy manifesto: an agenda for sustainable soy in the UK launched 2021.
  • COP26’s deforestation focus and agreement.
  • The need for legislation to protect the rights of the people on the land we need to protect.
  • Due diligence legislation: new legislation that is being finalised which mandates companies above certain size to be transparent about their supply chains.
  • WWF’s Better basket campaign which Tesco has signed up to.
  • Tesco’s increase in meat alternative options and support of reducing meat and dairy in diets.
  • WWF suggestions for people wanting to ease the pressure on deforestation caused by food systems: protein alternatives, fresh vegetables, meat alternatives and citizenship (exercising voting, contacting MPs, using our voice)
  • Multi-stakeholder initiatives collaborations tackling forest risk commodities.  Tesco is involved with The Consumer Goods Forum – Forest Positive Coalition (CGF-FPC)


UK Soy Manifesto

WWF’s Better Basket

The Consumer Goods Forum – Forest Positive Coalition (CGF-FPC)

FAO Report – summarising how agriculture is the main cause of deforestation

WWF on food on deforestation