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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.

Click on the links to find out more information on:

Most recent publications

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

Catching it all: Making EU illegal logging policies work better for people and forests

This report explores how trade in agricultural commodities undermines important EU timber trade reforms. It recommends a course of action that extends Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade-like mechanisms to agricultural commodities, including clearly incorporating conversion timber in new Voluntary Partnership Agreements and developing a broader EU Action Plan on Deforestation and Forest Degadation.

PDF iconCatching It All.pdf3.2 MB

Fern’s proposed priorities for the Dutch Presidency: Addressing EU Drivers of Deforestation

With the Dutch Presidency of the European Union nearly upon us (January to June 2016), Fern has written to the Dutch government outlining the priorities for forests that need to be tackled.

PDF iconfinal NL presidency letter.pdf407.45 KB