In the period 1990-2008 worldwide gross deforestation is estimated at 239 million ha (2.39 million km2, an area larger than the seven AD-signatory combined land surface areas). The main regions with gross deforestation were South America (33%), Sub-Saharan Africa (31%) and South East Asia (19%).

Source: EC (2013-063), The impact of EU consumption on deforestation

Within this period (and until today), the expansion of cattle ranching and agriculture became the main driver of deforestation being responsible for 55% of global deforestation (EC, 2013). This deforestation is mainly linked to beef (58 million ha), soy (13m ha), maize (8m ha) and palm oil (6m ha). Logging was only responsible for 4.5 million ha of deforestation.

Not all the produced commodities are actually exported. The majority – especially beef – is consumed within the producer countries. Of the internationally traded commodities, Europe is a major importer besides countries such as China and India and especially imported “embodied deforestation” in relation to soya and and palm oil. The ADP countries were responsible for the imports of 77% of all cocoa imported (EU27 + Norway); 71% of palm oil; 62% of soya; 71% of coffee; 51% of natural rubber; 85% of beef & leather; and 74% of paper & pulp.

Focal commodities:

  • Cocoa
  • Palm oil
  • Soy

Green Public procurement

Government is not the main buyer of agricultural commodities, companies are. Depending on the country context, governments may have a significant market share through food & catering for its civil servants such as the military, hospitals, schools etc. Governments can provide a strong market signal by green public procurement and public procurement plays a key role in the Europe 2020 strategy (2010) as one of the market-based instruments to be used to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Public procurement in general in the European Union is based on Directive 2014/24/EC “Public Procurement”. EU Directives have to be transposed into national legislation. All AD signatory countries have done so. The use of vegetable oils (rapeseed, palm oil, soya oil) for energy purposes is not regulated by public procurement but regulated by the EU Renewable Energy Directive.

In order to support market demand for sustainable certified products and to provide a market signal in support of private sector commitment, the AD-Group is working on enhancing green public procurement on deforestation-free commodities (cocoa, palm oil and soy).

The EU facilitates a Green Public Procurement Desk (GPP-Desk) at the Joint Research Centre. The GPP-Desk supports the revision of the food and catering criteria and presented their technical report (v3), which includes concerns on land use changes (e.g. destruction of natural habitats, particularly forests and related CO2 emissions). The technical report states that:

  • Environmentally responsible fats (palm oil and soya): “…shall have been sourced from plantations that meet the requirements of a certification scheme for sustainable production that is based on multi-stakeholder organizations that has a broad membership, including NGOs, industry and government and that addresses environmental impacts including on soil, biodiversity, land use change, organic carbon stocks and conservation of natural resources.”
  • Cocoa is included under the Fair and Ethical Products that “have been produced and traded meeting the requirements of a certification scheme for fair trade that requires a minimum content of certified product of 90% and that is based on multi- stakeholder organizations and addresses international fairtrade standards including working conditions for production in accordance with ILO, sustainable trade and pricing.

The ADP countries will also look specifically at the deforestation-free aspect of commodities.