Brussels – A landmark 1,193,652 people made submissions to the EU’s public consultation on deforestation, demanding a strong EU law to protect the world’s forests. The European Commission received the submissions in a ceremony yesterday evening, making it the largest public consultation on environmental issues in the history of the EU, and the second largest ever.
The signatures were received by Commissioner Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the EU Commission, and Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries in an online event. The ground outside the building was decorated with 1,193 lanterns, each representing 1,000 people who signed the petition.
Sini Eräjää, Greenpeace EU forest campaigner, said: “For too long, the burden has been put on people doing their shopping to work out whether what’s in their basket has contributed to deforestation. The EU has the power to make sure that nothing on the shelves is linked to the destruction of nature or human rights abuse. This call from over 1.1 million people can’t be ignored – it’s time for the EU to pass a new law to protect the world’s forests.”
The over one million respondents called for a strong, new EU law to keep products linked to deforestation and nature destruction off the European market, and ensure that the production of such commodities (such as beef, soy for animal feed and palm oil) has not led to human rights violations. A campaign led by WWF, Greenpeace, ClientEarth, Conservation International and the Environmental Investigation Agency, and backed by more than 150 environmental groups, encouraged people to make submissions to the public consultation demanding the EU tackle the forest footprint of its consumption.
EU Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, said at the handover: “We all will have to open our eyes to the fact that our consumption in Europe can lead to the destruction of forests elsewhere in the world, and at an alarming rate. We each need to make responsible and informed choices as individual consumers. And as a policy maker, you have my commitment to take strong action to tackle deforestation in all our actions.”
The EU’s demand for products like beef, soy for animal feed, leather, rubber and palm oil, is pushing the world’s forests and other precious ecosystems to the brink.
#Together4Forests, a campaign led by WWF, Greenpeace, ClientEarth, Conservation International and the Environmental Investigation Agency, and backed by more than 160 environmental groups, encouraged people to make submissions to the public consultation demanding the EU tackle the forest footprint of its consumption.
Sini Eräjää, Greenpeace EU agriculture and forest campaigner: +32 (0)476 97 59 60, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 19 11, email@example.com
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