Deforestation in Brazil
14 November 2018

Ending deforestation caused by importing unsustainable products

In keeping with the commitment made under the Climate Plan adopted in July 2017, France has just adopted its National Strategy to Combat Imported Deforestation which aims, by 2030, to put an end to deforestation caused by importing unsustainable forest and agricultural products.
 

With this strategy, France is assuming its responsibilities in terms of combating deforestation. The goal is to encourage every actor (producers, businesses, investors and consumers), to change their practices in order to reduce deforestation. The strategy is firstly aimed at agricultural commodities which contribute the most to imported deforestation, such as soy beans, palm oil, beef and beef co-products, cocoa, rubber, as well as timber and timber products. With the deforestation front rapidly advancing, update reports will be provided in 2020 and 2025 in order to measure the progress that has been achieved and, if necessary, to take new binding measures, broadening their scope to include further products.

key measures of the National Strategy to combat imported deforestation (SNDI)

The key measures of this strategy concern both the supply and demand of these products and involve all actors. They are also intended to be disseminated at European and international level:
 

  • France will use development aid as a lever to formulate, by 2019 and as part of a collaborative approach, roadmaps with exporting countries and regions, in order to help them incorporate greater respect for non-deforestation criteria in their production activities and to develop, within the context of development aid projects, more sustainable sectors and multi-stakeholder partnerships (public, private, NGOs). Over the next five years, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD – French Agency for Development) will devote €60 million per year to projects that contribute to sustainable management, the fight against deforestation, and reforestation.
  • The creation of a national platform for combating deforestation, bringing together businesses, NGOs and public authorities, to support the implementation and monitoring of the "zero deforestation" commitments made by private-sector stakeholders, in particular by facilitating their work on traceability and risk analysis in relation to supply chains. It will issue businesses with warnings where there is a risk of fraud or risks posed to the products they import, using an alert mechanism that relies in particular on French import data provided by customs and satellite monitoring of forest cover in supply areas. This platform will also aim to develop a new "zero deforestation" label to help consumers in their choices: a communication campaign will be launched for this purpose. Legislation on the vigilance duty of businesses will also be reviewed, in order to take better account of the risks associated with deforestation and to develop guidelines by sector.
  • The "zero deforestation" objective will be included in the agricultural sector plans drawn up following the États généraux de l’alimentation (Food Convention) for the livestock sectors, as well as vegetable oil and proteins. For cocoa and rubber, which are not covered by existing sector plans, and also timber, a specific sector plan regarding imported deforestation will be drawn up in 2019. In addition, the State will promote alternatives to importing vegetable proteins which may be derived from deforestation and will pursue measures to diversify protein consumption in France in favour of vegetable proteins, with the aim of establishing protein autonomy.
  • The State will adopt a "zero deforestation" public purchasing policy by 2022, in particular by building it into the interministerial "exemplary administration" mechanism.
  • In the biofuel sector, in accordance with the new Directive on renewable energy, France will put a cap on incorporating biofuels derived from raw materials which have a major indirect impact on deforestation, according to criteria to be established by the European Commission in February 2019, until these have been completely eliminated by 2030.

Finally, since it is most appropriate to act on a European level, from 2019 France will adopt an action plan to tackle imported deforestation, which includes the drafting of EU regulations on importing raw materials which pose a risk to forests. It could also potentially seek to incorporate respect for sustainable production criteria in the EU negotiation mandates for bilateral trade agreements.

 
Between 1990 and 2015, the global forest area declined by 129 million hectares, or eight times the forest area of mainland France, leading to an 11% increase in greenhouse gas emissions and significant consequences for the preservation of biodiversity and natural habitats. European countries have an important responsibility, since a third of this deforestation is due to the consumption of agricultural products by European Union countries. 

Having made pledges to combat deforestation within the framework of the Amsterdam and New York Declarations, France is taking action with this comprehensive strategy, which is the result of a consultation process involving all relevant stakeholders. The draft strategy was presented to members of the National Council for Ecological Transition on 12 July 2018, and submitted for pubic consultation between 3 and 24 July 2018. The final strategy text takes these numerous contributions into account – more than 2,500 – which underlines the high expectations surrounding it.