Deforestation and forest degradation – EU public consultation begins

Public consultation on stepping up EU action against deforestation and forest degradation has opened this week.

According to the European Commission (EC), forests are home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.

Deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions

Activities related to forestry and other land use – primarily deforestation – were responsible for 12% of greenhouse gas emissions, which makes them the second major cause of climate change after the burning of fossil fuels.

Around 80% of global deforestation is driven by agricultural expansion, a phenomenon which has roots in the global demand for products such as palm oil, soya and beef.

The EC is seeking to minimise the EU’s contribution to deforestation and forest degradation worldwide and promote the consumption of products from deforestation-free supply chains in the EU.

Some of the target audience for the public consultation questionnaire are:
  • Farmers;
  • Large-scale agri-businesses;
  • Small-scale local producers, including livestock producers;
  • Logging, wood-processing companies;
  • Forest owners;
  • Citizens from the EU and from third countries concerned with and/or affected by deforestation;
  • Consumers and consumer organisations;
  • Civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations with high interest in the issue of deforestation;
  • Businesses involved in supply chains potentially associated with deforestation and forest degradation.

The consultation will contribute to an impact assessment that will investigate the suitability of a range of different demand-side measures to address deforestation and forest degradation associated with EU consumption.

The public consultation period will run until December 10, 2020.

Why the EU is engaging in public consultation

The EU has some regulatory measures in place that tackle some drivers of deforestation, but not deforestation as a whole.

The commission has committed to assessing additional (regulatory and non-regulatory) demand-side measures to increase supply-chain transparency and minimise the risk of deforestation and forest degradation associated with commodity imports in the EU.

This commitment was further re-iterated in the European Green Deal, the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030 and the Farm to Fork Strategy.