Brussels: The voices of over 200,000 citizens that sent personalised messages to Members of the European Parliament asking them to protect forests have been heard. MEPs voted today for significant improvements of the proposal of the European Commission for a regulation on deforestation-free products. They agreed on including “other wooded land” in addition to forests, a higher number of checks on products, clearer definitions for important terms such as “forest degradation” and an enlarged product scope covering more than beef, soy, palm oil, rubber, timber, cacao and coffee.
Anke Schulmeister-Oldenhove, Senior Forest Policy Officer at WWF's European Policy Office: “The vote in the Parliament today for a strong deforestation law has been a clear yes: a yes to reducing the EU’s footprint, and a yes to protecting forests and savannahs and the rights of indigenous peoples. It has also been a yes to the calls of EU citizens who do not want to fuel nature destruction through their consumption. This message should not be ignored by the EU Member States who weakened the EC proposal in their position in June”.
The Parliament’s position states that not only companies placing products on the EU market, but also the financial sector, which is backing the activities of the world’s worst deforesters, will have to abide by a set of rules preventing products linked to deforestation from entering the EU market.
The vote today sends a strong signal towards EU Member States - showing that ambition is possible and that the European Parliament is prepared to take responsibility for the EU’s destructive footprint on nature, as well as the related human rights violations.
However, the European Parliament’s recipe for a new EU Deforestation law that brings about real change is still missing one ingredient: it fails to include all other natural ecosystems beyond forests. The European Parliament strengthened the European Commission proposal through enlarging the application of the law beyond forests to bushland, shrubland and other wooded land, which means that large parts of the Brazilian Cerrado will be covered. However, it leaves out grasslands and wetlands such as the Pampas or the Pantanal which are still at risk of facing increased pressure of being destroyed, also through EU consumption.
“The European Commission should come up with an impact assessment on the inclusion of grasslands and wetlands as soon as possible to close this loophole”, concludes Anke Schulmeister-Oldenhove, Senior Forest Policy Officer at WWF's European Policy Office.
For more information, please contact:
Anke Schulmeister – Oldenhove email@example.com Senior Forest Policy Officer, tel +32 485 84 31 44
Adriana Trocea firstname.lastname@example.org Communications Officer, Deforestation, tel +40 728 27 87 37
Note for editors:
Since 2020, through the #Together4Forests campaign led by WWF, 1.2 million citizens, scientists and companies have been asking for a law which ensures that only nature destruction-free products end up on the EU market. Over 50,000 people have sent additional letters to their national ministers earlier this year, and more than 206,000 messages and memes have been sent to Members of the European Parliament during the last two summer months.
Thumbnail images: © Seppo Leinonen