Existing voluntary zero-deforestation commitments by leading companies are essential to reducing deforestation. However, these voluntary actions will never achieve the systemic change required without complementary demand-side regulation. On this page, you can explore resources from Forest Trends’ and other stakeholders on demand-side approaches.
In the Media
- Deforestation can’t be stopped by voluntary action alone (Brian Schatz and Michael Jenkins, World Economic Forum, 01/15/2020)
- Opinion: Companies alone cannot tackle deforestation (Justin Adams, Financial Times, 8/6/2019)
- EU Communication (2019) on stepping up EU action to protect and restore the world’s forests (European Commission, 07/23/2019)
Reports and Briefs
The world continues to lose forests at an unsustainable rate. Deforestation contributes to climate change, degrades local environments, destroys habitats and biodiversity, and impoverishes forest communities and indigenous peoples. A significant proportion of this forest clearance has been illegal.
This brief proposes a “legality approach” to reducing illegal behavior in the production of forest risk commodities, by excluding from consumer markets products that are produced illegally.
A range of consumer-country measures have been deployed by governments as part of the global effort to combat illegal logging and the trade in illegal timber. Any measures taken by consumer countries to discriminate in trade between products based on the ways in which the products are produced, rather than their inherent characteristics, raises potential questions of compatibility with the trade disciplines of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This brief analyses the potential issues that could arise from any such new government policy.
Getting the Bads out of Goods (Forest Trends, 2018)
Over the past seventy years the rapid expansion of international trade and the growth of international supply chains, with various stages of production processes located in different countries, has at the same time facilitated the growth of trade in “undesirable products” associated with “global public bads”: trade in goods which are produced illegally or unsustainably (defined as production which does not respect environmental or social aims or norms). The study uses lessons from other supply chains to lay out the next steps for tackling the global trade in commercial agricultural products, such as soy, palm oil, beef and cocoa, that are responsible for almost three quarters of tropical deforestation. It finds that tackling these ‘bads’ can only be achieved effectively through national and international regulations and agreements.
Commodities and Forests Agenda 2020: Ten priorities to remove tropical deforestation from commodity supply chains (Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, 2017)
The Commodities and Forests Agenda 2020 summarizes the strategic priorities that must be addressed to eliminate tropical deforestation from beef, soy and palm oil production. The Agenda is intended to help government officials, corporate and civil society leaders identify organizational goals and provide leadership in implementing strategies that address the problem of commodity-driven deforestation. The Agenda reflects the views of more than 250 stakeholders, following extensive consultations facilitated by the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020.
Consumer Goods and Deforestation (Forest Trends, 2014)
This analysis shows that nearly half (49%) of all recent tropical deforestation is the result of illegal clearing for commercial agriculture. The study also finds that around half of this illegal destruction was driven by overseas demand for agricultural commodities including palm oil, beef, soy, and wood products. In addition to devastating impacts on forest-dependent people and biodiversity, the illegal conversion of tropical forests for commercial agriculture is estimated to produce 1.47 gigatonnes of carbon each year—equivalent to 25% of the EU’s annual fossil fuel-based emissions.
Infographic: Demand-Side Regulation