An increasing number of companies, financial institutions and governments are acknowledging their role in the deforestation economy and have begun to make public commitments to prevent deforestation in agricultural supply chains.
To track progress towards a deforestation-free global economy, Global Canopy have developed a complex ranking system to objectively identify and rank the 500 most influential ‘powerbrokers’ that have large-scale influence over forest risk commodity supply chains. Each year the Forest 500 assesses the companies and financial institutions that have the power to end deforestation. These ‘powerbrokers’ are given a score out of five based on the strength of their policies to curb deforestation across four commodities: soy, palm oil, cattle (beef and leather), timber (which includes pulp and paper).
By making this information available to all, the Forest 500 project has empowered each us – as potential consumers and shareholders – to participate in the process of keeping companies accountable.
Due to the project’s annual funding restrictions over a five year period, the project team has been gradually developing the site over several phases since it first launched in 2014.
Phase 1: the aim of Phase 1 was to develop an identity for the project and to build a website to launch the Forest 500 concept as well as to showcase the first set of assessments. We designed the project logo and visual identity and helped Global Canopy establish a messaging strategy to carry the Forest 500 project through its first year. The first iteration of the site was made up of a few key pages and the first set of assessments.
Phase 2: the already complex migration was further enhanced to create a yearly import and export of the 500 powerbrokers and their assessments. The project began to gather momentum and a blog was added to the site.
Phase 3: building upon the success and impact of the first two years, phase 3 focussed on developing the project’s identity further. During this phase, we worked alongside Global Canopy's in-house designer to rethink the layout and user experience of the homepage and other key landing pages. The labelling of the 500 powerbrokers and the way the data is presented to site visitors was refined further and improved since it’s inception
The project identity
Behind the scenes, Forest 500 is all about the detailed and rigorous methodology behind the research – the tracking, the scoring and the ranking. To inspire confidence and trust via a sense of the integrity of the process was an important part of the overall project identity, especially in the first years.
Site content is factual, non-sensational and current, the use of language impartial and non-judgemental. The logo and project graphics were designed to convey a sense of the counting, scoring, ranking and rational thinking behind the process – and yes, there actually are 500 dots in the logo!