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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

EU consumption and illegal deforestation

Half of all tropical deforestation since 2000 has been caused by illegal clearance of forests for commercial agriculture. Fern’s new study, summarised here, suggests that the EU is one of the largest importers of products resulting from illegal deforestation. The report makes calculations in terms of forest lost as well as value of goods traded.

Joint NGO call to the EU to develop an Action Plan on deforestation and forest degradation

The EU’s 2013 ‘Forest Footprint’ study revealed how the bloc leads the industrialised world in driving global deforestation. The EU was the largest net importer of embodied deforestation between 1990 and 2008, significantly ahead of other trading powers like China or North America.