New Focali brief: Three principles for the EU to reduce imported deforestation

Photo: Kate Evans/CIFOR

New Focali brief: Three principles for the EU to reduce imported deforestation

The EU is currently a major contributor to deforestation through the consumption of forest risk commodities such as palm oil, soybeans, cocoa, and coffee. This new Focali brief, written by Simon Bager and Focali member U. Martin Persson, offers insight on how to assess policy proposals which address the tropical deforestation generated from EU imports and recommends two comprehensive proposals which meet the developed guidelines.

The researchers surveyed over 1,100 policy proposals and each proposal was analyzed for political feasibility across three dimensions: the level of support across groups of stakeholders (advocacy), the procedural and technical complexities of implementation (institutional setting), and the economy-wide costs incurred (costs). Researchers then mapped the theory-of-change of each of the proposed policies to assess their ability to reduce deforestation. Taken together, the assessment of political feasibility and theories-of-change can help policymakers and other stakeholders find a ways forward for effectively tackling deforestation caused by EU imports.

Download the brief here


Key points:

- The overwhelming majority of all policy options relied on decreased demand for new forest land as a means of reducing deforestation.

- The feasibility of information-based and cooperative policies is higher than proposed regulatory and market-based reforms.

- There exists a trade-off between political feasibility and impact: the most feasible policies generally have weak theories-of-change, and vice versa.

- Promising policies make importers responsible for the deforestation in their supply chains by requiring them to carry out due diligence, or create platforms where multiple stakeholders, such as companies, organizations, and politicians, can jointly establish accountability criteria for forest destruction.

- 3 principles are offered to guide legislators: (i) Implement policies based on clearly elucidated and proven theories-of-change; (ii) Use policy mixes to create synergies and increase effectiveness. (iii) Work with stakeholders in key supply-chains and regions, broadening scope over time.


About this brief:

This Focali brief, written by Simon Bager and U. Martin Persson, is based on the article they co-authored with Tiago Reis: Eighty-six EU policy options for reducing imported deforestation. One Earth, Vol. 4(2), 289-306.
The recommendations presented in this Focali brief are solely the co-authors' and do not necessarily represent the views of other members within the Focali research network.


Press release:

Mapping policy for how the EU can reduce its impact on tropical deforestation


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