Following the global outcry about the Amazon fires, Fern and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office organised a European Parliament event to discuss the European Union’s (EU) response and the urgent need to regulate EU agricultural supply chains. The starting point for discussions was the recently published Commission Communication on stepping up EU action to protect and restore the world’s forests.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Heidi Hautala, European Parliament Vice-President and chair of the Working Group on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC), Bernd Lange, chair of the International Trade committee, Pascal Canfin, chair of the Environment committee, and Maria Arena, chair of the Human Rights subcommittee hosted the event. Panellists included representatives from the European Commission, the private sector, Brazilian Indigenous Peoples, the government of Côte d’Ivoire and civil society.
Speakers made the following recommendations:
- Hosting MEPs called for an EU legislation on supply chains to tackle global deforestation and for the stepping up of corporate and state accountability.
- Heidi Hautala, Bernd Lange, Maria Arena, representatives from Mars and Lush and NGO representatives made the case for an EU due diligence regulation that would require companies to ensure full transparency in their supply chains. This would allow them to monitor, address and mitigate the negative impacts of their imports on forests and human rights.
- European Commission, Côte d’Ivoire and Fern representatives insisted that that strong, mutual and equal bilateral agreements with producer countries must be put in place in order to address the root causes of deforestation.
- Indigenous Peoples and European Commission representatives stressed the importance of land rights and land tenure in the current debate on the best solutions to tackle international deforestation.