19 September 2017 - 10:00 - 12:00
Eddy Esselink, Christiana Figueres, Severin Fischer, Hege Karsti Ragnhildstveit, Artur Runge-Metzger

This panel discussion is organized by Conservation International, with the support of Friends of Europe, on European consumption driving imported deforestation. Featuring keynote speaker Christiana Figueres,  Distinguished Fellow of Conservation International and Former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

15% of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by deforestation, and a lot of that deforestation is driven by consumption here in Europe.

The Paris Agreement reached at COP21 commits its signatories to "pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5º C". To reach this target, we must ramp-up our efforts in all sectors. One sector is often overlooked: nature. Yet, forests could deliver more than 30% of the required mitigation.

The forests’ mitigation potential is widely ignored. Ongoing large-scale deforestation, forest degradation and conversion to agriculture still contribute to more than 15% of global GHG emissions. The European Union (EU) is the largest importer of deforestation embedded in goods such as palm oil from Indonesia or soy from Brazil. Thus, the EU has a key role to play in reducing global deforestation.

  • How can the EU ensure that all imported agricultural products are free of deforestation, forest degradation and human right violations?

  • Will the EU create policies and incentives that effectively encourage sustainable practices in producing countries?

  • Which corporate and Member State actions can lead the way? Shall voluntary commitments become mandatory to create a level playing field?


After 20 years of negotiations, 195 countries signed the Paris agreement to limit global warming. The focus now moves to implementation, and success will depend on the support and contribution of all – including industry, citizens, regions and cities.

We look at the role of regulation, competition, innovation, and the impact of consumption and production in sectors such as agriculture and transport (especially aviation and maritime transport). We debate the merits of different low-carbon economic models (including beyond growth and the circular economy).

09.30 - 10.00

Networking & registration

10.00 - 12.00

Climate action requires forest action


End of debate

Eddy Esselink
Program Manager for Sustainable Development at the Netherlands Oils and Fats Industry (MVO); and Chair of the Dutch Task Force on Sustainable Palm Oil.
Christiana Figueres
Former UNFCCC Executive Secretary and Distinguished Fellow at Conservation International
Severin Fischer
Head of Environment and Extra Financial Accountability at BNP Paribas
Hege Karsti Ragnhildstveit
Policy Director at the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI)
Artur Runge-Metzger
Director for Climate Strategy, Governance and Emissions from non-trading sectors at the European Commission Directorate General for Climate Action
This event is by invitation only.

Sarah Bentz, Programme Manager
Tel.: +32 2 893 98 23
Contact form
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