Despite government promises and corporate pledges to halt deforestation, the world continues to lose priceless natural habitats. According to the FAO, deforestation averaged 10 million hectares per year between 2015 and 2020. This is equal to about 1 soccer pitch every 2 seconds. This destruction is further accelerating biodiversity loss and climate change, and is often associated with human rights violations against Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
Agricultural expansion is responsible for 80% of global deforestation, and the EU’s consumption, trade and investments account for a disproportionate share of this. The EU’s consumption of commodities such as soy (mostly used to feed farm animals), palm oil, beef, rubber and cocoa, as well as industrial logging and other extractive industries, are particularly to blame. European hunger for these commodities leads to forests and many other natural ecosystems such as wetlands, peatlands, savannahs, shrublands and grasslands being converted or degraded.
As a first significant and necessary step to tackle the footprint of European consumption on deforestation and ecosystem destruction, Greenpeace is calling on the EU to adopt a regulation on the placing on the internal market of “forest and ecosystem risk commodities” (FERCs), i.e. the commodities whose extraction, harvesting or production has, or risks having, a detrimental impact on forests, other ecosystems and related human rights. This briefing describes the main building blocks on which such regulation could be built.