deforestation

France wants to put an end to deforestation caused by the import of unsustainable products by 2030.

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In accordance with the commitment made in the "Climate Plan" adopted in July 2017, five ministers (1) announce the adoption today, Wednesday, November 14, 2018, of the national strategy to combat imported deforestation aimed at halting by 2030 deforestation caused by the import of unsustainable forest or agricultural products.
 
Eetween 1990 and 2015, the world's forest area was reduced by 129 million hectares, i.e. eight times the area of the French metropolitan forest, leading to an increase of 11 % in greenhouse gas emissions and significant consequences in terms of preserving biodiversity and natural habitats. European countries bear a major responsibility since one third of this deforestation is due to the consumption of agricultural products by European Union countries. 
 
After having made commitments to combat deforestation in the Amsterdam and New York declarations, France is taking action with this comprehensive strategy, which is the result of consultation with all the stakeholders concerned. The draft strategy was presented to the members of the National Council for Ecological Transition on 12 July 2018 and submitted for public consultation from 3 to 24 July 2018. The final text of the strategy takes into account these numerous contributions - more than 2,500 - which underline the high level of expectation for it.
The objective of this strategy is to bring each actor (producers, companies, investors, consumers) to change their practices to reduce deforestation. Initially, it targets the agricultural materials that contribute most to imported deforestation, such as soy, palm oil, beef and its by-products, cocoa, rubber, and wood and its by-products.
 
As the deforestation front is advancing rapidly, milestones will be reached in 2020 and 2025 to measure progress and, if necessary, take further binding measures and expand its scope to new products.
The main measures of this strategy address both the supply and demand for these products and involve all stakeholders. They also aim to disseminate these measures at European and international level.
 
With this strategy, France wants to show that it is taking its responsibilities to combat deforestation. The national strategy to combat deforestation (SNDI) comprises 17 measures, the main ones being :
- France will use the leverage of development aid to draw up roadmaps by 2019, as part of a collaborative approach, with exporting countries or regions to help them better integrate compliance with non-deforestation criteria into their production and develop, as part of development aid projects, more sustainable sectors and multi-stakeholder partnerships (public, private, NGOs). Over the next five years AFD will devote €60M per year to projects contributing to sustainable management, the fight against deforestation and reforestation.
- The creation of a national platform to combat deforestation, bringing together companies, NGOs and public authorities, which aims to support the implementation and monitoring of "zero deforestation" commitments by private actors, in particular by facilitating their work on traceability and risk analysis of supply chains. It will make it possible to send companies alerts in the event of risk of fraud or risks on the products they import, thanks to an alert mechanism based in particular on French import data from customs and satellite monitoring of forest cover in supply areas. This platform will also have the task of developing a new "zero deforestation" label to help consumers in their choices: a communication campaign will be launched to this end. The law on the duty of vigilance of companies will also be reviewed in order to better take into account the risks related to deforestation and to develop guidelines for each sector.
- The "zero deforestation" objective will be integrated into the agricultural sector plans drawn up at the end of the "États généraux de l'alimentation" for the livestock sector, as well as vegetable oils and proteins. For cocoa and rubber, which are not covered by existing supply chain plans, as well as for wood, a specific supply chain plan on imported deforestation will be established in 2019. In addition, the State will promote alternatives to the import of plant proteins potentially resulting from deforestation and will continue actions to diversify protein consumption in France in favour of plant proteins, with the aim of aiming for protein autonomy.
- The State will adopt a "zero deforestation" public procurement policy by 2022, notably by integrating it into the interministerial "exemplary administration" system.
- In the biofuels sector, in accordance with the new directive on renewable energies, France will cap the incorporation of biofuels made from raw materials with a strong indirect impact on deforestation, according to the criteria to be defined by the European Commission in February 2019, until their complete elimination by 2030.
- Finally, because the European scale is the most relevant for taking action, France will adopt, as early as 2019, an action plan to combat imported deforestation, which includes the development of European regulations on the import of raw materials that pose a risk to forests. This could also aim to integrate compliance with sustainable production criteria into the EU's negotiating mandates for bilateral trade agreements.
 
(1) François DE RUGY, Bruno LE MAIRE, Frédérique VIDAL, Jean-Yves LE DRIAN and Didier GUILLAUME
 
Photo: © WWF
 
 

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