The National Strategy to Combat Imported Deforestation was adopted on November 14, 2018 to put an end in 2030 to the import of unsustainable forest or agricultural products contributing to deforestation in the cocoa, rubber, soybean, palm oil, wood and its by-products, and beef and by-products.

National Strategy to Reduce Imported Deforestation : Executive Summary (English)

National Strategy to Combat Imported Deforestation 2018-2030 (French)

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Image representing a forest seen from the sky

With this strategy, France wishes to play a leading role in the fight against imported deforestation by proposing the first initiative of this type.

The National Strategy to Combat Imported Deforestation (2018 – 2030)

The result of collaboration between five ministries (Ecological Transition, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture and Food, Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Finance), the National Strategy to Combat Imported Deforestation (SNDI), published on November 14, 2018, aims to end by 2030 the deforestation caused by French imports of non-sustainable forest or agricultural products , thereby contributing to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The objective of this strategy is to bring each actor (producers, companies, investors, consumers) to change their practices to reduce deforestation . It targets the agricultural materials that contribute the most to imported deforestation, such as soybeans, palm oil, beef and its processed products, cocoa, rubber, as well as wood and its by-products.

As the deforestation front is progressing rapidly, a next milestone will be carried out in 2025 in order to measure the progress made and, if necessary, take new binding measures and expand its scope to new products.

The context of the SNDI

The forest provides humanity with invaluable services free of charge : it contributes, by sequestering carbon, to the fight against climate change, attenuates extreme climatic events, filters water and provides protection against floods. The forest is also home to a remarkable biodiversity comprising 75% of living species; it is home to indigenous communities and provides income to more than 1.6 billion people.

The FAO estimates that 420 million hectares of forest — about 10% of the world’s forests, larger than the size of the European Union — disappeared between 1990 and 2020.

agricultural production and animal husbandry are the first cause of deforestation on a global scale and one third of this production is intended for export;
a 2013 study by the European Commission on the impact of European consumption on deforestation shows that European countries are responsible for more than a third of deforestation linked to international trade in agricultural products.
Consumption by the European Union (EU) would represent almost 10% of global deforestation according to the European Commission and the cumulative share of the EU in imported deforestation over the period 1990-2008 would amount to 36% of total deforestation linked to global trade. This impact is particularly strong in the humid tropical regions where most of the foodstuffs likely to be exported to the EU are grown. This is why we must act.

The scope of the SNDI

Imported deforestation

Imported deforestation, within the meaning of the SNDI, covers the import of raw materials or processed products whose production has contributed, directly or indirectly, to deforestation, forest degradation or the conversion of natural ecosystems outside of the national territory.

The raw materials concerned

The SNDI focuses primarily on the agricultural materials that contribute the most to deforestation: soybeans, palm oil, beef and processed products, cocoa and rubber, as well as on wood and its by-products. As part of future revisions of the strategy, its scope will be intended to expand to other products that may have significant environmental and social impacts: corn, rapeseed, shrimp, cotton, coffee, sugar cane, mining products, etc

France’s objectives with this strategy

France committed in its July 2017 Climate Plan to publish “a national strategy to end the import of forest or agricultural products contributing to deforestation – including indirect land use change. The SNDI includes 17 objectives grouped under five directions for action.

Orientation 1: develop, enhance and share knowledge

French research actors are mobilized to design a tool for calculating the pressure exerted by humans on forest ecosystems and thus determine France’s forest footprint in a robust manner.

Orientation 2: develop actions to combat imported deforestation within the framework of international cooperation

The strategy aims to cooperate with producing countries and producing regions in order to put in place incentive measures for sustainable raw materials and countries that are actively engaged in the fight against deforestation. From 2019 to 2024, the French Development Agency will devote at least 60 million euros per year to projects contributing to the sustainable management of forests, the fight against deforestation and reforestation.

Orientation 3: integrate the fight against deforestation into public policies to promote French demand for sustainable products

France is working with the European Commission and other Member States for a European initiative on deforestation and forest degradation (objective 4). It works actively to strengthen the integration of the issue of sustainable forest management and the fight against deforestation in trade agreements negotiated by the European Union.

It is also working on setting a cap on the incorporation of biofuels having a direct and indirect impact on land use change (objective 6) according to European directives. France is also working with the sectors on better traceability of imported batches.

The SNDI aims to strengthen France’s protein autonomy by promoting alternatives to the import of vegetable proteins from deforestation and to pursue actions to diversify consumption in France in favor of vegetable proteins.

By 2022, the SNDI aims to implement a zero deforestation public procurement policy through three measures:

support and educate buyers through the publication of a guide to sustainable public procurement;
integrate a goal of zero imported deforestation by 2022 into the interministerial system for eco-responsible public services;
bring to the European Union the establishment of a ban on the public purchase of products resulting from imported deforestation.
The strategy aims to strengthen checks to fight against fraud , on the one hand, in the timber sector with the objective of 175 annual checks under the EU timber regulation, on the other hand, in the used oils by setting up a reinforced traceability system.

Finally, France actively promotes the fight against deforestation in international and European negotiations relating to or related to forests.

Orientation 4: promote and coordinate stakeholder engagement

France advocates the improvement by companies of the analysis of risks linked to deforestation and reporting on the fight against deforestation . At European level, this subject will be addressed through the revision of Directive 2014/95/EU and its guidelines. At the national level, specific indicators for so-called zero deforestation supplies will have to be developed by companies as part of their reporting on social and environmental responsibility (CSR).

It also aims to encourage financial players, with the support of Finance for Tomorrow and the Paris marketplace, to more explicitly and systematically integrate the fight against deforestation into their investment strategies and policies.. Their commitment to the financing of projects for sustainable agricultural and forestry practices can be made within the framework of coalitions, in particular at the One Planet Summit, and by matching certain funds, such as the fund to combat land degradation and the desertification. It will accompany the emergence of new instruments, such as green bonds linked to the fight against deforestation. Finally, the issue of deforestation is included in the framework of the objectives of the European taxonomy of sustainable economic activities as an objective to which significant harm must not be carried out (principle known as Do no significant harm) under Regulation 2019/ 2088/EU, while the afforestation activity is a sustainable activity in its own right.

The SNDI plans to raise the level of certification requirements and ensure wider distribution, as well as improving environmental information to promote responsible consumption . France is working on setting up a new zero deforestation label. More broadly, it involves encouraging the deployment of environmental labeling and launching an information campaign for the general public on the links between consumption and imported deforestation in order to encourage the consumption of products that do not contribute to it.

The SNDI aims to set up a duty of vigilance for companies on imported deforestation at European level and to reinforce French law n°2017-399 of March 27, 2017 on the duty of vigilance.

In objective 15, it is planned to integrate the zero deforestation objective into the sector plans , which were established at the end of the general assembly on food. This concerns all the agricultural plans relating to livestock farming, vegetable oils and proteins. For cocoa and rubber, which are not covered by existing sector plans, as well as for wood, a specific sector plan on imported deforestation will be set up in 2019.

Objective 16 provides for the creation of an online platform on the fight against imported deforestation bringing together companies, NGOs and public authorities, in order to encourage zero deforestation commitments from private actors, inform them by promoting sharing and collaboration and send them alerts in the event of fraud or risks on the products they import to facilitate their traceability and supply chain risk analysis efforts.

Guideline 5: SNDI monitoring methods to guarantee the achievement of its objectives

The strategy establishes a mechanism for consultation, guidance and monitoring with all the stakeholders , within the National Group on Tropical Forests, in order to facilitate the implementation of the strategy, its annual evaluation and its revisions at come.
Progress reports on the implementation of this strategy are planned in order to assess the distance still to be traveled to achieve the objective set by the strategy for 2030 and to propose ways of accelerating this implementation.

National Strategy to Reduce Imported Deforestation: Monitoring the Implementation of NSDI Actions, june 2022 (French)