Deforestation destabilises the environmental systems humanity relies on. It hastens biodiversity loss, undermines water tables, threatens the livelihoods forest-dependent communities, and generates carbon emissions exacerbating climate change.

The problem

Over a quarter of tree cover loss involves permanent deforestation for commercial agriculture to produce commodities such as soy, palm oil, beef and others. Much is illegal, environmentally destructive and socially exploitative.

A further quarter of tree cover loss is driven by commercial forestry, often involving the conversion of natural forest to monoculture tree plantations.

Increasing unregulated demand for these commodities – and biofuels derived from them – present a structural threat to forests.


  • Exposed illegality

    We have highlighted widespread illegality in plantations

    permitting and forest clearance in Indonesia
  • Tens of thousands

    We have submitted multiple RSPO complaints on rogue plantations

    covering tens of thousands of hectares of forest
  • RSPO

    We have promoted the strengthening of RSPO sustainability standards

    to exclude deforestation

Moving forward

In palm oil producer countries, we will continue research, investigations, advocacy and communications that:

  • expose ongoing violations of national laws and sustainability standards where encountered, triggering formal grievance or law enforcement mechanisms where possible;
  • assist Indonesian civil society in strengthening national laws and palm oil production standards, including the ISPO
  • continue pushing for improved auditing and environmental assessments in RSPO palm oil sustainability certification, and monitor compliance with the ‘no deforestation’ rules adopted by RSPO in 2018
  • continue monitoring to inform the ongoing implementation of “zero deforestation” policies, and report on compliance.

In palm oil consuming markets we will:

  • Seek to enhance the EU’s pledged Initiative on Deforestation and forest Degradation – Stepping Up EU Action, resulting in a full-fledged Action Plan on Deforestation
  • continue promoting legislative restrictions on EU trade in illegal and unsustainable palm oil, and other like agricultural commodities
  • monitor company compliance with new trade policies, seeking enforcement where justified
  • Work with NGOs advancing similar policies in other major markets.