The European Union sealed an agreement on Tuesday, December 6, 2022: a law aimed at banning the import of products resulting from deforestation in the territory. How historic a decision, since this is the very first time (on a global scale) that such an agreement has been signed! If Europe makes this choice first, it is not really a coincidence: the EU is, according to 2017 data, the second largest destroyer of tropical forests in the world, with imports responsible for 16% of the deforestation of the planet. Obviously, cocoa, palm oil, rubber or beef are part of the list of future bans, but that’s not all! Many of the products we use on a daily basis also contribute to this disaster, without our realizing it.
1. Charcoal for barbeuk
According to a study published by the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Zambia, charcoal production is one of the main causes of deforestation in the country. Results confirmed by WWF Belgium, which, by looking at the contents of the bags present in the country’s supermarkets, concluded that the majority of them come from the exploitation and deforestation of tropical forests. On the side of our Belgian neighbours, it is Nigeria which stands out as the main supplier of the market.
2. Certain leathers
As mentioned above, the cattle industry plays a particularly catastrophic role in the deforestation of the planet, in particular because of the intensive agriculture used to feed cattle. However, leather is a co-product of this industry. While there are many ways to work leather responsibly, fashion industry chains do not always allow traceability of the materials used. According to a study conducted by the Stand.earth Research Group, based on approximately 500,000 databases of imports / exports of raw materials, more than 100 major brands, both in mass distribution and in luxury, contribute to deforestation. through the leathers they use. (Yes, Zara is on the list. Whoops.)
3. Certain cosmetics
Yet another industry appealing to another destructive industry. Yes, many shower gels, shaving foams or makeup contain palm oil or derivatives! No need to explain to you why the latter is one of the main drivers of deforestation. Other components that are not good for tropical forests and that are easily found in many cosmetic products: cocoa butter and… Petroleum. Ideal, to have a perfect skin, oil. For sure. What do we do before buying? We take a look at the elements present in this little tube with its impeccable packaging!
4. Certain medications
Same explanation here since, yes… There is also palm oil in certain medicines. And no, these are not specific and particularly rare treatments: they are found in Biafine or paracetamol.
Reducing your meat consumption to protect the planet is a good thing, but replacing it with soy is not necessarily a more ecological solution. Contrary to what one might think, soy is an environmental disaster! According to a WWF report, published in April 2021, soy was responsible for more than 30% of imported deforestation in the European Union, between 2005 and 2017! Over these twelve years, around 90,000 hectares have been deforested EVERY YEAR (well over a million over the period), to produce soybeans and export them to the EU. A phenomenon particularly present in South America. We must all the same qualify the statement a little: all the imported soy is not dedicated to the consumption of Europeans: between 70% and 90% of the production are used to feed farm animals.
6. … And so: chickens and eggs
The majority of French hens are fed Brazilian soy. However, as we have just explained, the latter is one of the biggest culprits of deforestation!
(Source : RTL)
7. Wood (logic)
According to WWF, a large part of the timber market is affected by illegal timber: all that is exploited and sold in violation of the laws in force in the countries where it is harvested. These exploitations contribute to the rapid destruction of forests, particularly in the Amazon, in the Congo and in the boreal forests. In 2021, wood and its derivatives represent 8% of EU imports linked to deforestation.
Brazil and Colombia are the world’s two main coffee producers, ahead of Indonesia, Vietnam and Ethiopia. Faced with a demand that continues to grow on a global scale, producers are expanding crops. How ? By razing forests. Quite simply. Let’s take it easy on this drink, no matter how sketchy. Don’t worry, there is a solution! To drink more responsibly while staying awake, you can fall back on chicory! Originally from the countries of the Mediterranean basin, it is mainly cultivated in the North of France! It’s not beautiful, is it?
Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to drink coffee again in your life! All products of all brands will not be banned, but importers will have to show their credentials: they will be obliged to prove the traceability of products by geolocating crops. Similarly, food from deforested land after December 2020 will no longer be legal.