Golden Opportunity to Stop Deforestation Caused by EU Consumption

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

Fires raging in the Amazon are started deliberately to make way for large-scale industrial agriculture – and EU market demand for commodities produced on former-forest land is adding fuel to the fires. Globally, the EU is responsible for over 10% of forest destruction through its consumption of commodities like meat, dairy, soy for animal feed, palm oil, coffee and cacao.

#Together4Forests, a group of 100+ NGOs, is urging citizens to take part in a European Commission public consultation on deforestation to push for a strong EU law to keep products linked to deforestation, forest fires, nature destruction and human rights violations off the European market. 

Anke Schulmeister-Oldenhove, Senior Forest Policy Officer at WWF EU said: “Products containing deforestation are in our shopping trolley. This must stop! Forests and other ecosystems across the world are an essential shield against climate breakdown, pandemics and the biodiversity crash, but EU consumption is weakening that shield. We urge the EU to introduce a strong law to keep forest destruction products off the market.” 

WWF together with Greenpeace, ClientEarth, Conservation International and Environmental Investigation Agency, have now launched a campaign to ensure that citizens have the opportunity to make their voice heard.

Deforestation is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Agriculture is responsible for 80% of deforestation for products like soy, beef and palm oil, and the EU is a top agri-food importer

The European Commission has pledged to propose new legislation to address deforestation in 2021. But to avoid shifting the destruction of nature to other vital natural habitats, it must also protect grasslands, savannahs and wetlands, as well as forests. 

The law must also protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities – they are recognised stewards of their lands and their knowledge is crucial to preventing biodiversity loss. Stopping deforestation will not be possible without them. 

The #Together4Forests movement is calling on the EU to introduce a new law to tackle its contribution to global deforestation and to ensure that nothing sold in Europe contributes to forest or ecosystem destruction, or related human rights abuses.