The call is an initiative from WWF. In a letter to the European Commission, the signatories write: “Effective EU legislation is urgently needed to tackle this problem – establishing a level playing field for more sustainable commodities and products to be placed on the EU market.”

In 2017 alone, the EU was responsible for 16% of deforestation associated with international trade of forest-risk commodities including soy, palm oil, beef, cocoa and coffee. This was second only to China, according to a recent report by WWF.

Banks should stimulate biodiversity
According to Triodos Bank, the loss of biodiversity is one of the greatest challenges for the existence of life on earth. The damage to biodiversity caused by our way of living, specifically farming, is considerable. We are on a point that we should not talk about reducing harm to biodiversity, but about regeneration.

Banks should only invest in initiatives that have a positive impact on people and the environment. Biodiversity, should in general not be seen as a risk: nature has value in itself and should be promoted by finance as well as by policymakers.

Triodos Bank has signed the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge, committing to assessing our own biodiversity impact, setting targets and reporting on biodiversity matters by 2024 at the latest. Triodos Bank is also part of the Partnership for Biodiversity Accounting Financials (PBAF), which is working on a harmonised biodiversity accounting approach.

Unfair competition
Emphasising the big toll deforestation takes on nature, human rights and the climate, the undersigning companies also point to collateral impacts on EU economies: “The continued destruction and degradation of nature directly and negatively affects agricultural production and other economic activities, impacting markets and human well-being. Unfair competition, based on products linked to destructive management practices, harms those companies committed to acting responsibly on the European market,” the statement reads.

A clear framework
European companies are calling for a clear legislative framework with mandatory requirements for due diligence, transparency and traceability, which also applies to the financial sector. In addition, they say the new law must not be limited to deforestation but also to the conversion and degradation of natural ecosystems, because limiting the scope of the law to natural forests “will exacerbate the already existing high pressures on other ecosystems.”