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Trade and finance

Fern’s aim is to achieve an EU trade policy which protects forests, respects forest peoples’ rights and supports EU and partner countries’ climate objectives.













Fern’s analysis: The EU’s often offensive trade and investment agenda can contribute to forest loss in partner countries. Increasing demand for forest risk commodities, combined with low import tariffs and inadequate environmental and social safeguards, can drive deforestation and undermine community rights. The EU is currently negotiating Free Trade Agreements with a number of forested countries with high levels of biodiversity: Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Brazil, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. To ensure EU trade and investment policies respect human rights and help meet forest protection goals, they need to include sufficient safeguards and be negotiated in an open, transparent and inclusive manner.

What Fern is doing: Fern is working with NGOs, policy makers and scientists to achieve an EU trade policy that protects forests, respects forest peoples’ rights and supports global climate objectives.

To learn more about this campaign read our blog article “Trading in incoherence?”, and our reports Duty Free? Making EU tariffs Work for People and Forests and WTO Compatibility with EU Action on Deforestation


Most recent publications

Financing land grabs and deforestation: the role of EU banks and investors

Fern's latest research shows that European Union-based banks and investors have played a massive role in financing companies at the heart of concerns about land grabbing and tropical deforestation. We looked in depth at the sources of funding for 23 of the world's biggest agriculture companies, including leading palm oil producers and traders. Click here for the full report.

PDF iconFinancing land grabs final.pdf2.85 MB

BLOG: HSBC – the bank we hate to love

by Mark Gregory

Why HSBC’s decision to keep its headquarters in the UK might be good news for forest campaigners.

Stashing the cash: banks, money laundering and the battle against illegal logging

Illegal logging is believed to account for between 15% and 30% of the international trade in timber, with revenues running into billions of dollars each year. This has prompted the EU, the World Bank and others to call for more effective use of anti-money laundering procedures as a way of tackling the illicit financial flows that support illegal logging. This report looks at whether action on money laundering could be a worthwhile lever to help preserve the world’s forests.

EU Investors, Land Grabs and Deforestation: Case-Studies

European banks and investors are a major source of finance for large-scale destructive agriculture; forestry; and pulp and paper projects. These often lead to forest loss, impoverishment and violations of the rights of local communities. NGOs continue to be inundated with examples of agriculture and forestry deals that kick communities off their land and cause environmental devastation.

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

From Rome to Lisbon: a guide to the EU and its role in developing trade and investment agreements

Liberalising investments with the aim of opening markets appears to be incompatible with sustainable development of resource-based activities. FERN has therefore published a briefing note, “From Rome to Lisbon,” a guide to the EU’s investment strategy. The guide explores the EU’s controversial role in developing investment provisions in the free trade agreements it concludes with third countries.

PDF iconfrom rome to lisbon.pdf941.36 KB