Data requirements to tackle global deforestation through mandatory due diligence

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Margot A Wood, Fanny Gauttier, Helen Bellfield, Christopher West, Rosa A. Indenbaum


The world’s forests are highly threatened, mainly by agricultural expansion, driving biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions, and disproportionately impacting rights and livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local communities. Zero-deforestation voluntary commitments to address deforestation have not significantly reversed deforestation and have made even less progress in related human rights violations. A regulation to address deforestation in agricultural supply chains will likely be prepared in the European Union (EU) to mandate due diligence requirements. We summarize how adequate risk identification and assessment require availability of and access to specific data. We review current data landscapes, flexibility required to adapt to supply chain complexities and capacities, required investments in current data systems, and constraints associated with data. We provide recommendations for forest risk commodity due diligence regulations, including: (1) To improve baseline data, prioritize sub-national data generation and access, improve remotely sensed maps of sourcing areas, and prioritize investment in public data platforms; (2) to adapt to supply chain complexities, regularly review commodities in the scope of the regulations; (3) for implementation, existing tools such as certification schemes can play a role for risk assessment, though cannot be a prerequisite to conduct due diligence. We outline data needs to allow for sufficient mitigation measures; (4) finally we recommend financial and technical support for developing countries and producers, which should improve the availability and quality of data. We conclude that increased data availability and quality to successfully implement a EU due diligence regulation on forest-risk commodities would benefit many demand-side market policies.



Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment, Natural Resources Management and Policy, Sustainability


risk assessment, European Union, imported deforestation, forest-risk commodities, data availability, supply chains


Published: 2021-08-19 10:44

Last Updated: 2021-08-19 17:44


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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