Brazilian NGOs ask for Financial Institutions to be included in EU deforestation bill

In a joint statement released yesterday, environmental organizations from world’s biggest tropical country argue for improvement in the EU deforestation bill.

The NGOs, which include the Brazilian branches of WWF, The Nature Conservancy and climate policy watchdog Observatório do Clima say in the letter that the new European legislation proposal to ban commodities produced with deforestation goes in the right direction towards meeting the goals of the Glasgow Declaration on Forests. The 2021 voluntary agreement aims to “halt and reverse” deforestation by 2030.

Brazil is the biggest tropical forest country in the world, home to 60% of the Amazon rainforest. If it doesn’t play ball, the Glasgow declaration and the Paris Agreement goal itself would be in jeopardy.

“It is a necessary and positive proposal,” the statement on the EU draft legislation reads. However, it has some gaps that need to be addressed. Among them are the need to adopt equivalent due diligence requirements for EU-based financial institutions providing financial services to corporate entities or groups doing business in commodities and products covered by the regulation. Currently, there are no similar obligations for investors and banks to prevent and deter investments targeting activities linked to deforestation.

Other gaps highlighted in the letter include the need to adopt wider protection to other ecosystems where deforestation could leak to, and for stricter control against leakage within properties.

The full press release is here, and the full statement here.