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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

Less and Better: Making EU Consumption Policies Work for People and Forests

This report explores possible solutions to the EU's huge foodprint, including the opportunity to link health and environmental benefits in encouraging deforestation-free consumption. The study identifies action points, such as tackling food waste and requiring product labelling and transparent information that would allow consumers to assess the embodied deforestation of a product and choose accordingly.

PDF iconLess and Better.pdf5.99 MB

Duty Free? Making EU tariffs Work for People and Forests

This report asks whether the EU can set lower tariffs for products identified as sustainably produced. It raises issues surrounding practical implications of doing so, such as World Trade Organisation applicability and political acceptability, as well as how the design of such measures should be approached.

PDF iconDuty Free.pdf2.27 MB

Fighting Fossil Fuels First Making EU climate policy work for people and forests

This study refocuses attention on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions domestically, without offloading responsibilities onto other countries through offsets.

PDF iconFighting Fossil Fuel.pdf2.64 MB

WTO Compatibility with EU Action on Deforestation

This report asserts that, formulated with care, government policies and laws to prioritise sustainable products can be compatible with the WTO. It provides insight into how the WTO system works, fundamental principles such as non-discrimination, and derogations to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade necessary to protect life and conserve exhaustible natural resources.

PDF iconWTO.pdf3.66 MB

Clear Cut: Making EU financial institutions work for people and forests

This report examines the activities of different financial institutions and their involvement in forest-risk agriculture. It investigates specific voluntary policies intended to address environmental, social and governance issues and the problems that arise with such measures (e.g. lack of public oversight and inability to enforce).

PDF iconClear Cut.pdf3.44 MB

Burning Matter: Making Bioenergy Policy Work for People and Forests

This report outlines the manner in which EU bioenergy policy drives deforestation, undermining the EU’s target of halting deforestation by 2030. It details the EU’s biofuels and biomass policies separately, including the history of their implementation; the fiction that biomass is a carbon-neutral energy source; the unintended social and environmental consequences of the policies; and their costs to the EU, Member States and producer countries.

PDF iconBurning Matter.pdf2.69 MB