Belgian economy a “major contributor to deforestation”

The World Wildlife Fund says our choice of purchases means that after China the EU is most responsible for deforestation of the tropical rainforest and the disappearance of wetlands.  Soybeans, palm oil, coffee, chocolate and beef are seen as the main culprits. 

The WWF calculated that Belgium is responsible for the deforestation of 148 square kilometres of rain forest each year.  This works out at 7% of the deforestation caused by the EU.  Belgium is among the big eight EU engines of deforestation. The figure takes account of all products and raw materials imported by Belgium.  Raw materials may be processed and re-exported.  The figure does not relate exclusively to Belgian consumption, but rather to Belgium’s economic activity.

The Institute for Nature and Forest calculated that Belgium’s global footprint is far greater than its domestic footprint, the impact it has on the environment.  According to Patrick Meyfroidt of the Francophone Catholic University of Louvain Belgium plays a critical role in deforestation partly as a result of domestic consumption, but more importantly as a result of its role as a European import hub.

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