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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

Guest blog: Why the failed Unilever takeover matters for forests

Whether one global mega-corporation succeeds in buying another global mega-corporation is not normally a subject of much interest to environmentalists. 

Kraft Heinz’s rapidly abandoned US $143 billion tilt at Unilever is different.

Civil Society Statement on the Reform of European Agricultural Policies: Good Food, Good Farming – Now

A Common Statement on the Reform of European Agricultural Policies from civil society organisations ahead of today's meeting on Monday 6 March 2017.

The Statement is co-signed by 137 European civil society organisations from 25 EU countries, representing environmental and social justice networks, organic farmers, pastoralists, peasants, sustainable forestry groups, health groups, animal welfare organisations, consumer rights bodies, development, fair-trade, cultural heritage and rural development organisations, consumer co-operatives, sustainable tourism and crafts associations.

Agricultural commodity consumption in the EU - Palm Oil

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, much of it illegal. Such destruction often violates the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples, causes massive biodiversity loss, and contributes to climate change. Fern is calling for an EU Action Plan to ensure imports of forest-risk commodities are legally sourced and ecologically viable.

This briefing note, the first in a series, focusses on Palm Oil.

It will be of particular interest to journalists and those looking for an introduction to the topic.

The EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan and forests: How and why NGOs should engage

This report looks at the European Union Circular Economy Action Plan, presented in December 2015 by the European Commission as the Communication “Closing the loop - An EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy”. It assesses the relevance of the Action Plan for forests and forest-risk
commodities, and considers how non-governmental organisations could engage with EU policy in these areas.

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