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Reduced consumption of forest-risk commodities

Fern’s aim is for the EU to launch an action plan to protect forests and respect rights.

Fern’s analysis: An area of forest the size of Portugal was lost globally between 2010 and 2015 because of EU consumption of commodities grown on deforested land. Such destruction often violates the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples, causes massive biodiversity loss, and contributes to climate change. Deforestation, forest degradation and drained peatland in tropical regions account for 10 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions globally.

The EU is one of the largest drivers of deforestation and has publically stated its intention to be part of the solution. By signing up to Sustainable Development Goal 15, for example, the EU has committed to halting its role in deforestation by 2020. This mammoth task will require European Commission departments to work together to coordinate action to change EU consumption and production patterns including through production, energy, agriculture, trade, investment, and finance policies. Member States, NGOs and academics are therefore calling on the EU to develop an EU Action Plan to Protect Forests and Respect Rights. The EU is currently undertaking a feasibility study for an EU Action Plan to Halt Deforestation and Forest Degradation. Such an action plan can ensure the EU only imports ecologically viable levels of legally and sustainably sourced forest-risk commodities.

What Fern is doing: Fern has produced a series of reports looking at the key areas of EU action which would help protect forests and therefore meet Sustainable Development Goal 15. We facilitate an NGO coalition to work with the EU to produce an action plan to reduce its role in deforestation.

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Most recent publications

Agriculture and deforestation

The EU Common Agricultural Policy, soy, and forest destruction

Proposals for reform

The biggest cause of forest loss – accounting for around 70 per cent – is agricultural deforestation, notably for beef, soy, palm oil and commercial timber. Soy ranks as the second largest agricultural driver of deforestation after cattle products.

This report looks at the linkages between the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the expansion of soybean cultivation, which has been the largest source of agricultural deforestation over which the EU has a direct influence.

NGOs call on MEPs to vote in favour of the own initiative report on Palm Oil and Deforestation of Rainforests

Twelve NGOs have come together to ask MEPs to vote in favour of the own initiative report on Palm Oil and Deforestation of Rainforests on 4 April. The NGOs particularly welcome the call for an EU Action Plan on Deforestation and Forest Degradation on the grounds that as a major consumer and a hub of international finance, the EU has a special responsibility.

Company promises: How businesses are meeting commitments to end deforestation

This report follows a spate of recent work examining company commitments to reduce or end their role in deforestation. What makes this report different is that it looks at the issue from the companies’ perspective, asking them why they have made these commitments; how they monitor progress; the economic costs of these commitments and, importantly, what they perceive as the barriers to achieving their commitments. The report ends with ways forward suggested by interviewees. They conclude that action is needed from companies, producer and consumer country governments and other stakeholders.

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PDF iconCompany promises.pdf4.03 MB

Major companies want more government support to end deforestation

Governments should do more to help companies whose products drive tropical deforestation, a new survey of some of the world’s biggest producers and buyers of palm oil, timber, cocoa and rubber has found.

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PDF iconCompany Commitments FINAL.pdf361.99 KB

The EU’s hunger for soy is causing destruction in Brazil. Here’s how it can be stopped.

By Paulo Barreto and Nicole Polsterer

Delegates from across the world are gathering in Brasilia this week for the Annual General Assembly of the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, a global coalition of governments, NGOs and companies, who aim to tackle the destruction of the world’s tropical forests, which is being driven by a voracious hunger for commodities including palm oil, soy and beef.

Tackling illegal logging in Ghana: Why civil society is generating pressure to deliver a VPA

by Samuel Mawutor


 

I have just returned from a two-week policy tour of Europe, visiting decision makers working on the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan in Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands. I was hoping to whip up interest in and support for FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) by showing Member States the successes and impacts that the Ghana VPA is already having. I also wanted to raise the challenges that civil society are having with the process. Together with my colleagues from Liberia and Cameroon, we also sought to highlight the fact that FLEGT is a transformational approach to developmental aid, which may be slow but could have far-reaching effects.

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