NGO recommendations on the future EU legislation to protect forests, natural ecosystems and human rights

Posted on 06 May 2021

An ambitious legislation is essential to reduce the EU’s footprint on the world’s forests and natural ecosystems, which host 80% of the planet’s biodiversity and are home to more than 300 million people.
The European Commission has committed to putting forward a legislative proposal in the first half of 2021 to minimise the risk of deforestation and forest degradation associated with products placed on the EU market. The EU is indeed the second biggest importer of deforestation, responsible for 16% of deforestation associated with international trade, totalling 203,000 hectares and 116 million tonnes of CO₂. This was second only to China.

This briefing outlines NGO recommendations on what the proposed legislation should look like. In particular, NGOs call on the EU to ensure commodities and products placed on the EU market are sustainable and not linked to the destruction or degradation of natural forests or other natural ecosystems such as grasslands.  To achieve this, new legislation should ensure companies carry out due diligence to assess environmental and human rights risks in their supply chains, as well as traceability of their commodities and products. The new legal framework should also apply to financial institutions.
300 million people, made up of Indigenous peoples and local communities, traditionally live in forests and depend on them for their livelihoods.
© Marizilda Cruppe / WWF-UK