Commission forest package won't get us out of the woods

Press release - October 17, 2008
Brussels, Belgium — The European Commission package of measures to tackle deforestation and illegal logging falls far short of the resolute response needed to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis, said Greenpeace today. If the EU is serious about protecting forests and maintaining temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, then Parliament and Council need to step up the Commission proposals.

"Deforestation and degradation is costing the world's economy $2 to $5 trillion per year - more than Wall Street has lost since the start of the current financial crisis.(1) Today's Commission proposals cannot bail us out of global warming and species extinction," said Sébastien Risso, Greenpeace EU forest policy director.

Illegal logging

Crucially, the proposed law to regulate the timber market will not effectively exclude illegal timber from the EU, nor contribute to effective forest protection worldwide. The European Parliament and Council should ensure that operators are required by law to provide reliable proof of the legality of their products. Operators should also be obliged to subscribe to environmental and social standards through robust traceability systems. Finally, the EU needs to mandate authorities to detect, investigate and prosecute criminal cases.

"The Commission's proposal for this law will not help European consumers know if the flat-pack wardrobe they bought last Saturday is the result of forest crime," said Risso.


In the Commission's communication on measures to reduce deforestation, the EU demand for agricultural commodities (such as soy beans, cattle and palm oil) is identified as a major driver for deforestation, however, the Commission does not propose any action plan or regulation to tackle this.

"The EU currently consumes more than its fair share of natural resources. Without an ambitious plan to tackle the EU's forest footprint, the last ancient forests and all the life that's in them will soon be wiped out", said Risso.

In its communication, the Commission also recommends the creation of a multilateral fund for forest protection under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. But while the Commission estimates that as much as €20 billion are needed to at least halve deforestation by 2020, its proposed scheme would only provide a small fraction of the total amount required.

"The EU should mobilise more financial resources and lead the UN climate talks by proposing the creation of a global fund for forest protection, based on a permanent financing scheme", said Risso.

Importantly, the Commission reiterates its opposition to the inclusion of forest offset credits in the EU emission trading scheme for the 2013-2020 period (which had been examined as a potential mechanism to channel funds to forestry projects).  Greenpeace calls on the EU as a whole to unequivocally reject the inclusion of such credits in the carbon markets.

Detailed briefings on each of the Commission proposals and forest for climate diagram:  

Forest for climate Diagram

Greenpeace briefing on Commission forest package

Briefing on Commission illegal logging proposal

VVPR info:

Mark Breddy – Greenpeace EU communications manager:
+32 2 274 1 903, +32 496 15 62 29 (mob)


(1) Pavan Sukhdev et al. (2008), The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity.