Deforested hillside in Indonesia

EU announces commitment to step up action in the fight against global deforestation

Today (23 July), the European Commission has released its long-awaited communication on Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests.

We welcome the communication which recognises that forests are indispensable –they are our lungs and life-support system, home to 80 per cent of the world’s species and provide subsistence and income for about a quarter of the world’s human population.

The EU acknowledges its role in driving rampant deforestation across the globe through the import of commodities such as beef, soy and palm oil.

Community leaders in Muara Tae, Indonesia, perform a ceremony to protect their forests (c) EIAimage

Our Forests Campaign has stressed that only a strong ambitious EU action plan that includes a mandatory approach through new legislation can stop deforestation and meet its own objective to halt global forest cover loss by 2030.

Today the EU Commission proposes that “the consumption of products from deforestation-free supply chains in the EU should be encouraged both via regulatory and non-regulatory measures as appropriate.” 

We look forward to working with the EU to support the development of an enforceable action plan. Binding regulation will ensure EU supply chains and all relevant products placed and financed on the EU market meet defined sustainability standards that exclude deforestation, environmental degradation and human rights abuses.

Our campaigners will continue to investigate forest crime, exposing both methods and the impacts it has on both forests and people. We look forward in working toward increased coherence and implementation of other EU policies that are in place.

This timely communication supports findings from a recent YouGov poll, commissioned by ourselves and partner NGOs, which revealed that 87 per cent of those polled across 25 EU countries agreed new laws are needed to ensure the products sold in EU countries do not contribute to global deforestation.

We also welcome the news that one of the EUs main priorities is to work in partnership with producing countries to reduce pressures on forests.

Vanessa Richardson, Forests Campaigner, said: “Old growth forests support millions of people and are key to meeting Sustainable Development Goals.

“Protecting old growth forests and addressing forest governance issues also provides the best protection for mitigating climate change.”