Impact of trade on biodiversity
Identification and mitigation of the negative impacts of EU demand for certain commodities on biodiversity in third countries
Client: DG Environment
One of the aims of the EU’s 2020 Biodiversity Strategy is to implement EU commitments made on a global level, including measures to step up the EU contribution to avert global biodiversity loss from habitat destruction and overexploitation. While the EU’s consumption and imports of certain commodities is linked to such biodiversity loss, the level of information available on the impacts of the trade flows of commodities on global biodiversity is far from complete and is difficult to compare.
Likewise, the effectiveness of EU policies aimed at reducing such global biodiversity loss has not, to-date, been consistently assessed. Therefore, the objective of this study for the European Commission (DG Environment) was to analyse the negative impacts of EU imports of a selected number of commodities on biodiversity in third countries, and to assess the effectiveness of a range of policy instruments which are or could be used to reduce the impact of the consumption of these commodities.
The Milieu team developed five in-depth commodity studies covering a varied and representative selection of non-food (cotton, gold) and food (beef, soya, fish) commodities, tracing the supply chain from EU consumption back to the original production source(s). In doing so, the underlying factors which influence this supply chain were identified.
Milieu also used these five case studies as the basis for the analysis of the possible ‘effectiveness’ of applying existing or planned EU policy instruments to reduce the biodiversity impact of these commodities. All in all, 11 groups of policy trade, environmental and development policy instruments were assessed across the five commodities.
The final study enables DG Environment to better understand the linkages between EU consumption and global biodiversity loss, and to consider policy options at the EU level to mitigate negative impacts.