Why partnership agreements should be at the heart of EU efforts to end deforestation
Converting forest land for agricultural crops is the main cause of tropical deforestation. The EU is a major importer of forest risk commodities (FRC). Deforestation frequently goes hand in hand with human rights violations, notably the violation of land rights of local communities and Indigenous Peoples, and the violation of labour rights, including the use of child labour, notably in the palm oil and cocoa sectors.
Over 440 companies have committed to free their supply chains of deforestation, and seven European countries, through the Amsterdam Declaration Partnership, are also working towards deforestation-free, sustainable supply chains. In 2021 the EU is expected to table a corporate governance law requiring companies to execute due diligence across the supply chain, aiming for a do-no-harm approach, as well as specific legislation to tackle deforestation and human rights violations in FRC supply chains.
These are all positive developments, but more is needed.
This paper aims to explore what is the role of the EU in supporting good governance in producer countries to address deforestation, and how can EU trade in FRC be used as leverage.
The EU is a major importer of forest risk commodities, i.e. beef (41 per cent of global imports in 2014), maize (30 per cent), cocoa (80 per cent), coffee (60 per cent), palm oil (25 per cent), soy (15 per cent) and rubber (25 per cent). The majority of these commodities come from just seven countries: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Indonesia, Malaysia, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.