S&Ds: on the business of forestry, EPP and ECR choose to stand behind industry instead of defending human rights and the environment

S&Ds call for sustainable palm oil to stop deforestation, mitigate climate change and save endangered species, exploited plantation workers, including children, Paul Brannen, Miriam Dalli,

Following today’s vote in plenary in favour of the report ´Transparent and accountable management of the natural resources in developing countries: the case of forests’, the chair of the development committee, Linda McAvan, S&D rapporteur in the international trade committee, Maria Arena and S&D shadow rapporteur in the development committee, Seb Dance, outlined in a joint statement:

“The EPP and ECR groups always talk about the nexus between business and development, but when it comes down to a vote that ensures the business of forestry is beneficial to forest communities, they have shown their true colours. Today's vote was an excellent opportunity at European level to ask for safeguards for indigenous people and forest communities in developing countries, in order to ensure that timber is not the next 'conflict diamond', and S&Ds are proud to have voted for, and won these measures.

“Trade policy can and should be a powerful tool to promote the sustainable use of natural resources by establishing binding regulatory frameworks for companies to respect environmental commitments. By trying to eliminate all references to such binding measures the conservatives clearly showed their only goal is to put private interests before the environment and human rights.

“It is unfortunate that the EPP and ECR have chosen to ignore the potential role that Europe can play in safeguarding human rights, and instead have tried to water down transparency and sustainability in this report. We are very pleased that a progressive coalition eventually led the way in sending a strong message that sustainability, trade and development are not mutually exclusive ideas.”