Berlin (17 Nov. 2021). The legislative proposal presented today by the EU Commission to exclude deforestation in the supply chains of companies operating in the EU market does not go far enough, according to the environment and development organisation Germanwatch. Katharina Brandt, policy advisor for agriculture at Germanwatch, says: "If we want to curb the climate crisis and stop the global extinction of species, savannahs and wetlands must not fall victim to the cultivation of soy for industrial livestock farming in Europe. We expect the future German government to push for an EU regulation that protects forests - but also other natural ecosystems with high ecological value or essential carbon storage functions."
In Latin America, the expansion of soy cultivation and grazing land for cows are the biggest drivers of loss and degradation of forests and other natural ecosystems. If the proposed legislation were to become an EU regulation, companies would only be allowed to place so-called forest risk commodities (goods with a high risk of contributing to deforestation worldwide) on the EU market if they met certain sustainability criteria. Affected companies would be obliged to make a due diligence declaration and would in advance have to assess and mitigate the risk of forests being cleared for the production of their goods.
Legislative proposal does not protect peatlands, mangroves or savannahs
"It is right that the EU Commission is finally addressing this problem because Europe's imports are one of the most important drivers of habitat destruction worldwide. But the EU Commission's legislative proposal unfortunately only focuses on the protection of forests," Brandt criticises. "Other natural ecosystems such as peatlands, mangroves or savannahs, which are also of high ecological value and essential carbon stores, can continue to be converted into agricultural land for the production of agricultural trade goods for the EU." Moreover, these ecosystems secure the livelihoods of many local communities, including indigenous peoples.
In addition to an effective EU regulation against deforestation in supply chains, Germanwatch also advocates for a cross-sectoral EU supply chain law to enshrine more ambitious regulations on corporate due diligence across the EU. The legislative proposal is expected in December.
Goods related to deforestation in Mercosur often reach the EU on container ships.
© Katharina Brandt