As the Europe's largest manufacturing sector, with an annual turnover of over €1.2 trillion and a leading employer of 4.72 million people, the EU food and drink industry has over the past 10 years been working to make its supply chains deforestation-free. While progress has been made, the industry recognises it needs to accelerate the pace of change.
The food and drink industry welcomes the European Commission’s recently published communication entitled ‘Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests’ as a way to raise awareness about the importance of preventing deforestation, restoring forests and addressing the various challenges under the five priority pillars.
Forests are critical to life on our planet. Forests mitigate climate change, contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air and protect watersheds, which supply 75% of freshwater worldwide. Furthermore, forests contribute to reducing the risk of natural disasters, including floods, droughts, landslides and other extreme events. Forests also represent 30% of land of which 6% is represented by tropical forests (Amazon, Congo Basin, South East Asia), are home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, and 1.6 billion people depend on them. Forests are of key importance for food security and our planet.
That is why the EU food and drink industry is committed to working collectively and with other supply chain actors and stakeholders to:
- Implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
- Support the development of enabling frameworks such as Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapters at EU level that promote sustainable sourcing;
- Support the possible establishment of a harmonised framework on due diligence at EU level;
- Strengthen the credibility and reliability of forest related certification schemes;
- Participate in multi-stakeholder platforms/dialogue that will facilitate the exchange of best practices and help identify appropriate solutions and strategies to combat deforestation and foster afforestation.