Conservation International Statement on the European Union Legislative Proposal to Address Deforestation

November 17, 2021

Brussels, Belgium (November 17, 2021) - Conservation International-Europe's Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Herbert Lust, released the following statement today in response to new proposed

legislation from the European Union (EU) to limit the impacts of deforestation from products on the EU market.

The legislation seeks to curb the EU’s contribution to global deforestation and forest degradation by creating new standards for products to reach the European market. The legislation covers several key commodities like coffee, cocoa, palm oil, soy, beef and wood, as well as derived products such as leather. It is subject to regular review to expand to additional commodities, such as rubber. To access the EU marketplace, commodities must be defined as deforestation-free, comply with the relevant legislation of the country of production, and meet new requirements for due diligence and traceability.

“We commend the European Commission on taking action to honor the commitment laid out in its 2019 Communication on protecting forests. Recognizing the true impact of deforestation and forest degradation is a huge step forward. As the EU consumes 10% of global agricultural commodities, limiting imported deforestation in European markets would be a key lever of change in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss.

“Following as it does on the heels of the Glasgow Declaration on Forests and Land Use, this legislation has the potential to lead a global movement to protect forests and the land tenure rights of Indigenous Peoples. Over 1 million people have spoken out to move this commitment forward, and we’re pleased to see this valuable first step.

“In recent years, more money has gone into activities that destroy forests, compared to those that restore and protect them. Halting deforestation in supply chains within and outside of the EU must be prioritized, and funding projects and partnerships that ensure an inclusive transition will be vital. Thus, the legislation must involve the finance sector, including investments or loans to companies involved in deforestation.

“While this legislation is encouraging, this cannot be an end point for the EU and governments worldwide – the EU must continue to move beyond the current proposal and extend protections to other ecosystems like savannas, peatlands and mangroves, each of which store tremendous carbon reserves akin to those of traditional forests.

“The EU has come so far and made tremendous progress, but it cannot let up now. The next months of deliberations are crucial in making sure the final version of this law delivers on its ambition. With adequate focus and follow-through, we are optimistic that the EU’s proposed legislation can serve as a model for other nations as this is a strong step in the right direction.”


About Conservation International
Conservation International works to protect the critical benefits that nature provides to people. Through science, partnerships and fieldwork, Conservation International is driving innovation and investments in nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, supporting protections for critical habitats, and fostering economic development that is grounded in the conservation of nature. Conservation International works in 30 countries around the world, empowering societies at all levels to create a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet. Follow Conservation International's work on Conservation NewsFacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.