DEFORESTATION – A sustainable dilemma

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Forest land of the size of England is lost each year across the world. This matters: deforestation contributes more than 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. But forest risk commodities, such as palm oil, timber and soy contribute US$135bn in export trade each year. So how do we reconcile economic interests, trade and consumption with global commitments on climate change and environment conservation?

With more than 1.6 billion people depending on forests for their livelihoods, the sustainable development dilemma is brought into sharp focus.
Demand for palm oil is sky-rocketing. This is causing large-scale deforestation, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia, the two biggest palm oil producers, despite government pledges to tackle the challenge and many corporate pledges to achieve ‘zero deforestation’.

As the world’s second-largest importer of palm oil, Europe has a significant role to play in reducing deforestation. But as with other Sustainable Development Goals, the aim is to achieve a reasonable and responsible trade-off between making the world greener, protecting people’s incomes and sustaining economic growth.

  • Does Europe need to go beyond existing voluntary industry commitments and certifications to make sure imported commodities are deforestation free?
  • Will it use its muscles in the areas of trade, regulation and standards to encourage palm oil producers to use sustainable practices?
  • How do we reconcile economic development in producing countries with broader sustainability concerns?
  • As consumers, what can we do to prevent deforestation?


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Deforestation : A sustainable dilemma.
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12.30 – 13.00 Welcome of participants and sandwich lunch

13.00 – 14.15  Café Crossfire debate

14.15  End of debate and networking coffee

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  • Nazir Foead

    Head of the Indonesia Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG), Republic of Indonesia
    Appointed by the President of Indonesia to lead the Peatland Restoration Agency in 2016, Nazir Foead now supervises the restoration actions of two million hectares of Indonesia’s peatland within a five year time frame. Prior to this, he worked as Indonesia’s Initiative Coordinator at the Climate and Land Use Alliance, responsible for directing grants and supporting Indonesia’s Central Statistics Offices. He was also the Conservation Director of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia, managing over 300 staff at 26 conservation sites.

  • Benedek Jávor

    Vice Chair of the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety; and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)
    Benedek Jávor is an active environmentalist and founding member of the Dialogue for Hungary party (PM). Prior to joining the European Parliament, he was an elected member of the Hungarian National Assembly and the leader of the Hungarian opposition party Lehet Más a Politika (Politics Can Be Different). As a former professor and lecturer on environmental law, Jávor founded the environmental Védegylet (Protect the Future), in order to “raise awareness on global environmental threats” and has authored several articles and publications on sustainable development.

  • Brendan McNamara

    Head of Global NGO Engagement at HSBC
    Brendan McNamara has over 25 years’ experience working in corporate and financial communications, both on the agency side and in-house. At HSBC for nine years, McNamara first worked primarily on the HSBC Group’s regulatory news, financial calendar and reputational issues as part of the corporate media relations team. Today, he leads the Group’s global engagement with NGOs.

  • Danielle Morley

    European Director of Outreach and Engagement at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
    Prior to joining RSPO, Danielle Morley worked for over 10 years at WaterAid , where she founded and developed the Freshwater Action Network into a major local-to-global NGO in the water and sanitation sector, with regional hubs in South Asia, Africa and Latin America. Morley is a Trustee at the Environmental Law Foundation and Freshwater Action Network Global and now leads on strategic communications, stakeholder engagement, issues management, media relations and public policy for RSPO in Europe. 

  • Sebastien Risso

    Director of EU Forest Policy at Greenpeace Europe
    Sebastien Risso is an activist who fights for the preservation of forests around the world; he has been involved in many campaigns led by Greenpeace, including on the protection of the environment, against illegal logging and against the use of harmful biofuels. Prior to joining Greenpeace in 2004, he worked as EU Policy Officer for France Telecom and as a Project Coordinator for the Institute for Environment, Infrastructure and Innovation.


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