Belgium joins countries calling on the European Commission to act on deforestation

Antwerp, 5/12/2018 – Belgium today presented an Initiative calling on the European Commission to “develop an ambitious action plan against deforestation and forest degradation before the end of the current mandate of the European Commission (mid 2019)”.

It is the seventh European Union (EU) Member State to do so, following a letter sent by Denmark, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Italy in November 2018. It is the first time that Belgium has made such a specific call.

“Belgium’s stance means that there’s now overwhelming momentum for the Commission to act.  Member States, companies and civil society expect ambitious action on deforestation caused by Europeans’ consumption—and increasingly, they agree this must include regulation.”  Said Julia Christian, forests campaigner at Fern.

This recommendation is part of a sustainability initiative on chocolate, set up by the Belgium government, chocolate companies and civil society, which aims to provide a fair income to cocoa producers and stop deforestation driven by cocoa production by 2030.

The initiative also calls on the European Commission to propose a due diligence regulation for the cocoa sector, describing it as “particularly ripe for legislation addressing the root causes of and interlinkages between human rights violations and deforestation”.

This follows calls made at the World Cocoa Conference earlier this year, where chocolate companies agreed in a common declaration that there was a need to “strengthen human rights due diligence, including through potential regulatory measures by governments.”

read more … Fern

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