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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

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

New study finds EU donors spend millions of Euros halting deforestation while funding projects that drive it

20 March 2015. On the eve of UN International Day of Forests, this press release launches a new study commissioned by Fern to take stock of EU spending on forests. It finds striking incoherence at the heart of donor spending. Fern believes this could be fatally undermining the efficiency of aid to forests and calls for increased coherence and new priorities.

PDF iconTracking Trends final.pdf375.41 KB

Taking stock: Tracking trends in European Aid for forests and communities

Forests and forest-dependent communities are under increasing pressure due to infrastructure projects and the demand for agricultural commodities. Although there is growing recognition of the importance of forests in mitigating climate change, this makes them vulnerable to a new threat: that they will be appropriated to capture potential payments to compensate for carbon emissions (REDD+ initiatives).

PDF iconfern_takingstock_internet.pdf3.26 MB

Stolen Goods: The EU’s complicity in illegal tropical deforestation

Previous studies commissioned by the EU have shown that the EU has been leading the world in imports of ‘embodied deforestation’ in the form of agricultural and timber products. This study goes a step further, by showing that the EU is also one of the largest importers of products resulting from illegal deforestation.

PDF iconStolen Goods_EN.pdf2.48 MB

EU a Global Leader in Consumption of Goods from Illegally Deforested Land Valued at EUR 6 Billion Annually

Released at the same time as Fern's new report Stolen Goods, this press release reveals that almost a quarter of the world trade in agricultural goods produced on land illegally cleared of forest is destined for the EU; the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, France and the UK dominate these imports.