After years of multilateral deliberations on how to stop global deforestation, such as REDD+ under the UNFCCC, deforestation-free supply chain (DFSC) initiatives emerged from the private sector. Linking both concepts conceptually and in policy practice could provide for synergies and enable more effective approaches against global deforestation. To operationalise such a linkage, a prerequisite is the knowledge of both concepts’ key characteristics, as well as resulting similarities and differences. This literature review firstly identifies key characteristics that affects the potential impact of such concepts, secondly analyses if and how REDD+ and DFSC define these characteristics, and thirdly compares both concepts towards a potential linkage. The results show that a linkage of REDD+ and DFSC provides numerous complementarities which could foster the goal of halting deforestation. This includes for example the driver commercial agriculture, and in terms of permanence, leakage, and degradation. But close coordination is needed to avoid unintended negative consequences, especially for subsistence and smallholder agriculture. The comparison shows that the political consensus found under REDD+ provides a good basis to be supplemented with private sectors’ DFSC initiatives, but additional initiatives like the Bonn Challenge and investments in agroforestry are needed in order to ensure the long-term effect on forest conversion.
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