What solutions to fight against imported deforestation?

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In France, a strategy to fight against imported deforestation is beginning to be put in place and the country intends to bring this mobilization to European level. This is one of his priorities during his presidency of the European Council which began on January 1 for 6 months.

Sitting in front of a computer, Klervi Le Guenic, in charge of the tropical forests dossier at the NGO Canopée, browses the website dedicated to the fight against deforestation imported into France. “Soy is the main source of deforestation imported from France and the soy that we import comes mainly from Brazil. »

Online since the end of November, a form makes it possible to visualize these imports of Brazilian soybeans in France, and intended for animal feed. Thanks to satellite and customs data, the risk of deforestation appears according to the place and date of the plantations, the producer or the port of departure of the goods.

The key element is these small diagrams which make it possible to classify the main exporters and importers, and to be able to see – in green – the part of their supply which is at low risk of deforestation, and the part which is at high risk of deforestation.»

► To read also: Brazil: deforestation in the Amazon records a record increase

Virtuous practices expected by consumers

This tool is intended for French companies on a voluntary basis. If the experiment works, it could be extended to countries other than Brazil and for other goods: cocoa, coffee, beef, palm oil, for example.

Several large groups such as Auchan, Lidl, or Herta have committed to using it. This is also the case of Carrefour. Agathe Grossmith is project director there: “Our goal is for 100% of these sensitive raw materials to have a solution that allows us to guarantee the absence of deforestation. This is clearly expected by our customers. Our bet, since this is something that is unique and has not yet been done throughout the world, is to say that the whole market will have the same rules of the game and gradually, that will encourage buyers to choose where there is less risk and also for manufacturers to gradually adopt more virtuous practices“, she explains.

For a common European framework

But for this to work, the whole market would have to be engaged. Bérangère Abba, Secretary of State for Biodiversity explains that France wants to lead this fight at European level.

We absolutely need today a system that is the same for everyone with a common definition of products, of what deforestation is and also a binding framework so that at the level of the Community market we all have the same criteria , that there is no competition between the different countries of the Union. This device is on the table and we are going to have to negotiate it during the French presidency of the European Union to arrive, we hope, at this framework which would be laid down at European level.“says the Secretary of State.

► To read also: The European Union takes a first step against imported deforestation

And if the environmental protection NGOs are rather satisfied, they still demand that the final text include the complete list of products that contribute to the destruction of the environment abroad in the forests, but also the savannahs , grasslands or wetlands. The EU is responsible for 16% of deforestation linked to agricultural production in the world, behind China (24%) and ahead of India (9%), the United States (7%), and Japan ( 5%), according to the WWF.

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