Eating up Forests. How EU consumption drives deforestation and land conversion: the case of soy from Brazil | WWF

Eating up Forests. How EU consumption drives deforestation and land conversion: the case of soy from Brazil

Posted on
20 May 2015
The EU’s high dependence on natural resources from abroad causes serious environmental problems. Europe’s excessive demand significantly contributes to global deforestation.

WWf's study puts together the results of two studies showing the heavy impact of EU consumption on the world's forests and other important ecosystems.

A European Commission-funded research shows that EU consumption led to the loss of 9 million hectares of forest globally during the period 1990-2008 – an area the size of Portugal.

A study by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) commissioned by WWF showed that the EU used 20 per cent of global soy production in 2007. The total global land area required to satisfy EU demand for soy was close to 17 million hectares. As the largest source of embedded soy for EU countries, Brazil provided 43 per cent of this area, or over 7 million hectares – eq uivalent to the combined area of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Despite acknowledging the need to address the environmental impact of its consumption, the EU has not yet taken significant steps to address its impact abroad and to balance its consumption.

This publication shows the need for the EU to develop soon an Action Plan on deforestation and forest degradation that combines a broad spectrum of interventions, and for EU businnesses to develop responsible purchasing policies and use their power to shift the market and influence policy makers.