25 years of achievements

Fern helped reduce EU illegal tropical timber imports by 60 per cent 

In 2003, Fern helped define the EU’s flagship programme to tackle illegal logging: the unique FLEGT Action Plan bans illegal timber from entering the EU market, improves local democracy and empowers civil society to protect forests.

Along with the EU timber regulation, this led a drastic change in the EU’s consumption pattern: illegal tropical timber imports were reduced by 60 per cent, from 3.4 million tons in 2003 to 1.5 million in 2014.

Fern supported local NGOs to clarify who owns the forest and improve the way they are managed 

Since the adoption of the FLEGT action plan, 187 new NGOs in six countries have participated in shaping national forest policies which cover 87.32 million hectares of tree cover - the size of Germany and France combined.

Fern coordinated meetings, trained partner NGOs and raised more than €6 million of EU and British funding for partners to be involved in defining the policies that will affect their lives and livelihoods.

Fern ensured that the European Commission included environmental impact assessments in its aid programmes 

In 2007, Fern successfully convinced the European Commission to introduce environmental impact assessments in development aid programmes. EU’s official development assistance commitments for climate change mitigation increased more than four-fold between 2007 and 2011, reaching just short of €1 billion in 2011. 

Fern convinced the European Union and key EU Member States to pledge to make tackling global deforestation a priority

In 2008, thanks to Fern’s advocacy, the European Union committed to halt global forest cover loss by 2030 and to reduce gross tropical deforestation by at least 50 per cent by 2020 compared to 2008 levels.

In 2019, following five years of campaigning (including the publication of our report ‘Stolen goods’ showing that key EU Member States were complicit in buying ingredients tainted with illegal deforestation; and a petition initiated by Fern and signed by 230,000+ citizens), the European Commission published a long awaited Communication on “Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests". In this document, the Commission, for the first time, opens the door to regulating EU's supply chains in order to prevent the risk of deforestation associated with imports of agricultural commodities into the EU.

Fern made sure that EU forests will play a key role in tackling climate change 

Since 2014 Fern has been the only NGO involved in complex negotiations about EU land use policies. Fern brought NGOs, academics and scientists together to ensure a wide chorus of voices called for EU forests’ carbon storing capacity to be increased as well as, not instead of emissions reductions in energy and transport.

Thanks to our advocacy, EU forests will remove 131 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere between 2020 and 2030, the equivalent of the EU’s total emissions for a year.

Fern reduced loopholes in emissions counting

Fern exposed the fallacies of carbon trading, preventing forests from being included in the EU Emissions Trading System and making it more difficult for them to be included in the subsequent emissions trading schemes that followed.

Fern built a coalition which halted biodiversity offsetting

Fern built a coalition of NGOs to challenge EU and Member State plans for biodiversity offsetting. This coalition managed to halt plans for such policies in the UK and the EU, thereby protecting old growth forests which can no longer be cut with the promise of “improving something else, somewhere else.”

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