EU agricultural imports linked to illegal deforestation, study claims

The European Union is one of the world’s largest importers of agricultural goods from illegally deforested land, a report published yesterday (17 March) by Fern, a green NGO, has found.

In 2012, EU member states imported more than €6 billion in soy, leather, beef, and palm oil coming from tropical forests turned agricultural land, the report said.

The Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Italy, and France are “the largest importers of these illegally sourced commodities”, consuming 63%.

Palm oil is largely bought by Germany and the Netherlands, while the leather is mostly sold to Italy in order to satisfy the fashion industry's high demand. France is the EU state that consumes most of the soy imports. Meanwhile, the UK tops the list in buying high quantities of beef.

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