In response to the European Parliament’s vote to adopt a legislative report on tackling EU-driven deforestation, Giulia Bondi, Forests Campaigner at Global Witness, said:

“Global Witness welcomes the adoption by the European Parliament of this landmark legislative report, which sets out a clear blueprint to halt and reverse EU-driven deforestation. The report recommends new rules requiring all companies placing goods on the European single market to check, mitigate and prevent the risk of deforestation and associated human rights abuses. 

Notably, it emphasises that the same mandatory due diligence rules should also apply to all financial institutions doing business in the EU that are providing funds to companies associated with forest-risk commodities; this is a crucial step to help stop the money pipeline bankrolling deforestation. 

Furthermore, the report calls for access to remedies to affected communities and a clear regime of civil liability and sanctions, ensuring that there are robust accountability mechanisms in place to help protect human rights and the environment.

Deforestation has a devastating impact on the global climate, biodiversity and forest communities, and the EU is heavily implicated. The EU is responsible for over 10% of global deforestation and EU-based financial institutions provided €7 bn between 2013-2019 to six harmful agribusinesses involved in the destruction of climate-critical forests.  

This ground-breaking report is a clarion call for the EU to step up and tackle its role in global deforestation. If the EU is to be a real leader on climate change, biodiversity and human rights, the European Commission must follow suit and bring forward robust legislation to ensure that European consumption and financing are not driving deforestation and human rights abuses around the world.”