87 per cent of Europeans support new laws to combat global deforestation, new poll shows
Posted on 21 May 2019
An overwhelming majority of Europeans want new laws to ensure that the food they eat and the products they buy don’t drive global deforestation, according to a YouGov poll released today.Brussels, 21 May 2019 – An overwhelming majority of Europeans want new laws to ensure that the food they eat and the products they buy don’t drive global deforestation, according to a YouGov poll released today.
Eighty-seven per cent of those polled across 25 EU countries agreed that legislation was necessary to protect forests. Ninety-one per cent also said they cared deeply about forests and agreed that deforestation is harmful for people and wildlife.
The poll, which is released ahead of international biodiversity day on Wednesday 22 May, was commissioned by the Environmental Investigation Agency, Fern, Greenpeace and WWF.
Speaking on behalf of the NGOs, Hannah Mowat said: “Europeans have made it very clear: they understand the terrible consequences of deforestation and don’t want to be complicit in this tragedy. They don’t want to buy dairy products, steaks or snacks that are tainted by forest destruction. They want new laws ensuring that the simple act of shopping no longer means walking an ethical tightrope.”
The poll also concludes that the majority of EU citizens think neither their national governments (sixty-six per cent) nor the EU (sixty-one per cent) are doing enough to tackle global deforestation.
The poll is published at a time when the European Commission, which will be presided by M. Jean Claude Juncker until November 2019, is expected to unveil plans to step up EU action against deforestation. It remains unclear whether these will include proposals for new laws.
“The Juncker Commission should now make its mark by proposing far reaching legislative measures to halt deforestation by 2020, meeting the EU’s international commitments and heading the calls of its citizens. Now is the time to be bold!” said Anke Schulmeister-Oldenhove, Senior Forest Policy Offcer at WWF's European Policy Office.
The European Parliament, governments, European citizens and NGOs have all called for regulatory measures to ensure that products placed on the EU market have not caused deforestation or violated human rights. Similarly, new laws should stop the EU financial sector from facilitating global deforestation.
The EU has made an international pledge to halt global deforestation by 2020. Yet it remains one of the largest markets for agricultural commodities, such as beef, palm oil, soy and cocoa, which have a major impact on the world’s forests. Agriculture in general is one of the main causes of the destruction of primary forests, according to recent data.
• The poll was conducted in all European Union countries except Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta.
• Country-by-country results can be found here.
• All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 20,892 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th - 29th April 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults (aged 18+) in each market and an even weighting factor has been applied.
Angelika Pullen, Communications Director
WWF European Policy Office
+32 473 947 966,