White paper

Clear definitions: the core of a strong EU regulation to address deforestation and related impacts

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Published 15 April 2022

In November 2021, the European Commission issued a proposal for a groundbreaking new law to address deforestation and forest degradation in soft commodity supply chains. The Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) welcomes this proposal and has published a white paper on how the regulation’s definitions could be adjusted to better protect forests and other key at-risk ecosystems.

As wood products are the third-largest source of EU-driven deforestation, the AFi recommends that the law’s definition of deforestation should include the conversion of natural forest to plantation forest. This is consistent with existing market expectations of many European buyers and will help address the loss of biodiversity and carbon stocks that typically results from such conversion.

The current proposal also excludes hundreds of millions of hectares of biodiversity-rich wetlands, savannahs, and natural grasslands. Agricultural expansion linked to EU market demand is a key driver of destruction of these important ecosystems. By expanding the law’s scope using clear definitions, the EU can help break the link between food consumption and the loss of valuable ecosystems.

Read the white paper here.