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Image shows burning forest in Brazil

Golden opportunity to stop deforestation linked to EU consumption

Market demand for commodities produced on former-forest land is adding fuel to the fires raging in the Amazon, but support for new EU-wide legislation could help douse the flames.

Globally, the European Union is responsible for over 10% of global forest destruction through its consumption of commodities like meat, dairy, soy for animal feed, palm oil, coffee and cacao.

Now #Together4Forests, a group of 100+ NGOs from around the world, is urging citizens to take part in a European Commission public consultation on deforestation to push for a strong EU law to stop products linked to deforestation reaching the European market. 

Sarah Rogerson, research associate with Global Canopy said:

“Consumers currently cannot avoid products linked to deforestation in their supermarket shop. This needs to change. Forests are essential to protect against climate breakdown, pandemics and the biodiversity crash, but our consumption in Europe is contributing to their destruction. We urge the EU to introduce a strong law to keep forest destruction products off the market.” 

Global Canopy’s Forest 500 project has joined together with WWF, Greenpeace, ClientEarth, Conservation International, Environmental Investigation Agency and Wildlife Conservation Society, to make it easier for individuals concerned about deforestation to make their voice heard by inputting to the EU consultation.

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. 

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

The #Together4Forests movement also wants the law to 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.

Sarah Rogerson added:

“The EU must introduce a new law to ensure that nothing sold in Europe contributes to forest or ecosystem destruction, or abuses of human rights in the communities that depend on them.”

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Photo: WWF Brazil