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12 Jul 2022

Global Witness

EU: MEPs in the Parliament’s Environment Committee vote to improve the EU’s draft anti-deforestation law

"MEPs back holding banks accountable in stronger EU anti-deforestation law", 12 July 2022

MEPs in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee today voted to improve the EU’s draft anti-deforestation law, passing measures that would oblige banks to conduct due diligence to prevent the financing of deforestation, boost protections for indigenous communities, and add rubber and leather to the list of imported products that would be screened for deforestation links.

Reacting to the vote, Giulia Bondi, Senior EU Forests Campaigner at Global Witness said:

If the package that was agreed today ends up being included in the final law, the world’s remaining forests and the indigenous communities who protect them would be in a much safer place. It’s now up to the rest of the European Parliament to back this proposal to protect forests and indigenous communities, end EU banks’ complicity in deforestation and make sure imports of rubber and leather are deforestation-free.”

Global Witness revealed in June that rubber is the European import that poses the biggest threat to West and Central Africa’s tropical forests. Rubber appeared in early Commission drafts of the law but was removed after tyre industry lobbying. 

Last year, we showed how EU-based financial institutions struck €30.6 billion worth of deals with 20 agribusiness companies accused of deforestation between 2016-2020.  

The vote comes weeks after national environment ministers failed to strengthen the law when agreeing their position.

MEPs will use the package agreed today as a basis for the final European Parliament position, which will be voted on in plenary in September.