Why we need deforestation-free supply chains

Wald von oben

Agricultural expansion causes rapid degradation of ecosystems in countries of the South American economic and political bloc Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay). This endangers its unique biodiversity and harms the global climate. The European Union is an important trading partner and importer of commodities associated with deforestation and ecosystem degradation and therefore holds a significant responsibility to create deforestation-free supply chains and halt deforestation in the Mercosur.

1. What is the problem?
2. What is our aim?
3. What do we do?

 

Approaches to halt deforestation currently discussed at the European Union

As the world's second largest import market for forest risk commodities, the EU bears a large share of the responsibility for ensuring that global supply chains become deforestation-free. The EU is committed to minimizing its contribution to global deforestation and to promote the consumption of products from deforestation-free supply chains.

Germanwatch evaluated five policy approaches discussed in the EU for their effectiveness to reduce deforestation in global supply chains. You can download our study here.

 

News and Publications

News
29 June 2022

The expansion of agricultural land for the production of animal feed or palm oil is the biggest driver of loss and degradation of forests and other natural ecosystems worldwide. The EU’s demand for these so-called forest and ecosystem risk commodities plays a significant part in global deforestation linked to international trade.

Blogpost
31 March 2022
The EU Commission has recently presented a proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence. The aim of this Directive is to integrate international standards into European law and prevent negative consequences of global business activities. Can the law contribute to ending deforestation in transnational supply chains?
Publication
16 February 2022
In this publication, we have analysed, compared and evaluated five different approaches to halt deforestation in EU supply chains. To identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) of each approach, we have conducted expert interviews as well as an extensive literature review.
Blogpost
20 December 2021
Deforestation, overexploitation and climate change threaten forests around the world. The European Union also plays an inglorious role in this. To change this, the European Commission presented yesterday a legislative proposal to prevent products from forest destruction from entering the EU internal market in the future. At the same time, a general EU supply chain law is being planned. Is the EU Commission duplicating its efforts? No, say Julia Otten and Johannes Heeg from our member Germanwatch and the Initiative Lieferkettengestz.
Blogpost
20 December 2021
In Brazil, a railway project threatens to overrun the environment and the rights of indigenous peoples.
A thousand kilometer railway line is intended to make industrial soy production in Brazil cheaper and increase exports. As the second largest buyer of Brazilian soy, the European Union is already partly responsible for the social and ecological damage caused by soy production and for the expansion of cattle pastures in forest areas. Brazil's indigenous population are resisting the construction, pointing to the disregard of their rights and the threat to the climate and biodiversity.
Press Release
17 November 2021
Europe's demand for soy and meat contributes significantly to deforestation and the destruction of important ecosystems in Latin America - proposed EU legislation does not have sufficient impact
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."
Blogpost
05 November 2021
The European Union’s high demand for soy still causes deforestation and nature degradation of large areas in the countries of origin. In an online seminar hosted by Germanwatch, researchers, activists, members of civil society organisations and political decision makers discussed different measures to end EU-driven deforestation and ecosystem degradation in South America, especially in the tropical dry forest of the Gran Chaco.

On 14 October 2021, Alejandro Brown, president of Fundación Proyungas from the Gran Chaco, researchers Laura Kehoe (University of Oxford) and Alfredo Romero Muñoz (Humboldt University Berlin) as well as policy advisor Barbara Hermann (Climate Focus) highlighted the impacts of deforestation in the Gran Chaco through international trade and the difficulties of a zero-deforestation approach. They warned that the Gran Chaco is in a very critical state and further deforestation could lead to the total destruction of the ecosystems.

Blogpost
30 September 2021
How do European livestock farmers know whether forests have been cleared for the cultivation of soy in their feed? So far, feed manufacturers have pretended to be unable to take responsibility for their supply chains. Tracing back the origin of the soy through many intermediaries along the global supply chain was too difficult for them. In the future, however, an EU law could require companies to take responsibility for their global supply chains.
Blogpost
30 September 2021
The climate crisis is hitting us right now and threatens to get much worse. Germany and the EU bear a special responsibility: What we do or don't do in Europe, our food and our trade system, have an impact on other parts of the world. This can be seen, for example, by looking at the destruction of forests in the Mercosur economic area – in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Blogpost
30 September 2021
Giulia Dias (18) is an activist with Fridays for Future (FFF) Amazônia. She studies law, lives in the city of Belém in northern Brazil and does research on the rights of indigenous communities in her country at the Emílio Goeldi Museum.
Interview with Giulia Dias (18), an activist with Fridays for Future (FFF) Amazônia. She studies law, lives in the city of Belém in northern Brazil and does research on the rights of indigenous communities in her country at the Emílio Goeldi Museum.
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Policy Advisor Agriculture
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