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9 Aug 2021

Tal Harris, Greenpeace

Cameroon: Activists rally to ask EU to stop buying & financing rubber linked to deforestation

"Cameroonians rally to demand EU stop deforestation for rubber", 9 August 2021

More than 30 young Cameroonian activists crowded in front of the headquarters of the European Union Delegation in Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé, this morning to demand the end of the EU support for rubber originating from rainforest destruction. The mobilization took place while the European Commission in Brussels is drawing up the articles of a new law on commodities linked to deforestation and forest degradation...

...The rally marks the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, after 10,000 hectares of rainforest in the South of Cameroon (an area about the size of Paris) were trashed by the multinational rubber company Halcyon Agri and the previous owner of its local subsidiary Sudcam. This operation, from 2011 to 2018, resulted in the displacement of Baka Indigenous People and the threatening of the Dja Faunal Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Demands for restoration of the forest and compensation of the Baka community have been consistently flouted by Halcyon Agri’s management.

Nevertheless, rubber from plantations such as this is being processed and marketed undisturbed to markets around the world, including the EU’s.

...While youth activists rally today, the Greenpeace European Unit and Greenpeace Africa handed over a letter to the ambassador of the EU delegation in Yaoundé, calling for the adoption of ambitious and effective legislation on forest-and-ecosystem-risk commodities (FERCs)...

...Greenpeace demands:

  • Sustainability requirements for all risk commodities – including meat, soy, palm oil, and rubber – must address human rights impacts, deforestation, forest degradation, and the conversion or degradation of natural ecosystems other than forests. 
  • The new legislation should apply to natural rubber as a key forest and ecosystem risk commodity in particular and set sustainability requirements for all forest and ecosystem risk commodities and products placed on the EU market, and address human rights impacts, deforestation, forest degradation, and the conversion or degradation of natural ecosystems other than forests;
  • The new law should cover the financial sector, obliging financial actors to abide by due diligence obligations and sustainability requirements equivalent to those for commodities and products;
  • Finally, it must establish requirements for supply chain transparency and traceability, as well as a comprehensive enforcement framework as laid out in this briefing by the Greenpeace European Unit.