Commodity-Driven Deforestation

An estimated sixty percent of deforestation in the tropics is driven by the expansion of commercial agriculture, the majority of it in violation of producer country laws. The resulting commodities, such as palm oil, beef, leather, soy, rubber, cocoa and coffee, are often destined for international markets. The largest consumer markets for these exported commodities are China, the European Union, and the United States, none of which have laws requiring that goods entering their markets were produced legally, let alone in full respect of human rights and free from deforestation and natural ecosystem conversion. EIA investigates and exposes how unregulated commodity production and associated trade is systemically driving deforestation, violating the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and is often linked to violence against environmental defenders, and works to advance legal and policy reforms to clean up commodity supply chains.

Many of the largest producers, traders, manufacturers and retailers in these commodity supply chains have made voluntary corporate commitments over the last decade, but these have not been enough to stop global deforestation. EIA advocates for regulatory frameworks requiring mandatory supply chain due diligence in key consumer markets as a way to catalyze systemic change and level the playing field for businesses trying to act responsibly.

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Leather car seats linked to illegal Amazon forest destruction

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Indigenous peoples file complaint against Dutch trader over illegal deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon

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Hope for Colombia’s forests: Civil society, Government and lawmakers take measures against illegal cattle ranching and deforestation

In its 2021 investigative report Tainted Beef, EIA documented how beef from cattle illegally raised in Colombia’s protected forests ends up on the shelves of city supermarkets. The current lack of accountability, perpetuated through opaque supply chains, makes consumers unwitting contributors to the deforestation of Colombia’s protected areas and the financing of illegal armed groups.  […]