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Briefing / Nov. 4, 2016

Regulating risk - why the EU needs laws to guard against land grabbing

Why European investors should be regulated to prevent land grabs, human rights abuses and deforestation

Over recent years, there has been a huge increase in awareness over the role of companies and financial investors in driving the global land grabbing crisis and its negative impacts on local people and the environment. However, despite this improved understanding, the  response from the regulators, as well as the corporations themselves, has so far been to focus on promoting voluntary standards and mechanisms as the solution.

Global Witness and Friends of the Earth Europe believe this voluntary approach is fundamentally flawed. This briefing paper provides evidence and analysis from the ground to demonstrate why robust, binding regulations are urgently required to address the problem of European corporate and investor involvement in projects causing land grabs, deforestation and human rights violations overseas. The introduction of mandatory solutions will not only reduce the harm caused, but help align European-based corporate and financial actors, and regulators, with EU commitments to human rights, development and climate change, while ultimately also making good business sense.