PapersEconomic IntegrationAgriculture and deforestation. How to reduce the impact of the EU’s agricultural...

Agriculture and deforestation. How to reduce the impact of the EU’s agricultural imports on global forests

By Instituto Affari Internazionali

Agriculture is by far the leading cause of global deforestation, being responsible for over 90 per cent of all clearing.1 And yet, while a number of initiatives and treaties have been developed over the decades to protect forests, no one has ever directly addressed agriculture. Above all, the international trade of agricultural commodities, which is the leading cause of deforestation within farming activities, has never been regulated. At a critical moment to face the biodiversity and climate crises, it is of utmost importance to address this issue. The European Union is in a privileged position to improve this framework. Particularly after the launch of the Green Deal back in 2019, it is at the same time the most advanced player in terms of environmental regulation and the biggest importer of products that cause deforestation globally. It also has the expertise, the domestic political support and – no less important – the need to finally deliver a policy tool to address the impact of agricultural trade on global forests. And, to some extent, it has finally done so. 

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Authors: Lorenzo Colantoni Senior Fellow; Alessio Sangiorgio, Junior Researcher, Istituto Affari Internazionali.

This article is available on the Istituto Affari Internazionali webiste.

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