Forests are essential for life on earth. Despite this, forests have been cleared and degraded at an accelerating rate in recent decades mainly due to agricultural expansion, illegal or unsustainable logging, and other activities like mining. Between 1990 and 2020, some 420 million hectares of forest have disappeared,
an area larger than the European Union.

The EU is directly fueling this destruction, through its consumption of products that come from cleared and degraded land, and it provides to companies who profit from this devastation through the funding of its financial sector. Estimates show that, in 2017, the EU was responsible for 16% of tropical deforestation linked to
internationally traded commodities like meat, palm oil or soy. The EU’s own forests are also suffering as they are losing diversity of habitats and species, largely due to forest management practices.

This is Greenpeace’s analysis and recommendations for the European Commission’s
proposal for an EU Regulation “on the making available on the Union market as well as export from the Union of certain commodities and products associated with deforestation and forest degradation and repealing Regulation (EU No 995/2010”

The proposal, which is part of the European Green Deal, has the potential to trigger a paradigm shift that will minimise the EU’s contribution to forest and ecosystem destruction within and outside its borders, as well as the human rights abuses often associated with it. Over one million people responded to the European Commission’s consultation in support of this initiative, and on 22 October 2020 the European Parliament adopted a resolution, asking the European Commission to act. It is now the task of the European Parliament and of the Council to deliver the legislation the EU needs to end its complicity in forest and ecosystem destruction.

Read the full briefing here.