A deforestation free nation is one that has done all it can, within its decision-making ability and power, to eliminate imported deforestation from its economy.
Wales is at a critical crossroads in its history and needs to address multiple emergencies – COVID-19 recovery, the climate and ecological emergency and ongoing inequalities in our nation.
Our response to the crisis must go hand in hand with Wales’ Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. This requires us to create a resilient Wales which maintains and enhances a bio-diverse environment, make a positive contribution to global well-being, and address the ways in which we contribute to global ecological degradation and climate change. Wales needs to significantly reduce its ecological footprint, so that it lives within planetary boundaries. This is essential for the survival and prosperity of future generations.
The next Welsh Government must make a commitment to becoming a deforestation free nation. If we do not act quickly, future generations will not only have no forests of their own but will also be faced with the many devastating impacts climate change and nature loss presents, including increased risk of pandemics.
For Wales this would mean implementing the following recommendations so that Wales can commit to becoming the first deforestation free nation. To enable this, Welsh Government needs to:
1. Develop a measure for the greenhouse gas emissions associated with overseas deforestation caused by commodities and products that are imported into Wales. This measure should be considered as part of the Welsh Government’s second carbon budget (2021-2026), and in the setting of the Well-being of Future Generations Act National Well-being Indicators and Milestones
2. Ensure that the Welsh Government’s Economic Contract, which aims to strengthen a relationship with business and drive inclusive growth and responsible business behaviour, is strengthened so that signatories to the contract commit to deforestation free supply chains.
3. Call on the UK Government to implement mandatory due diligence legislation that applies to all companies in the UK that place commodities and derived products that may contribute to deforestation onto the market.
4. Introduce deforestation free targets in procurement policy in Wales as part of our transition to utilising locally produced and sustainable goods.
5. Introduce sustainable farming practices that do not contribute to deforestation overseas. This includes ending the reliance on imported soy animal feed that originates from forest risk areas and adopting nature and climate-friendly farming methods such as organic farming, agro-ecology and agroforestry.
6. Introduce a new cross-departmental food system strategy that both drives and rewards local sustainable Farm to Fork supply chains and prioritises only sustainable goods from overseas to support livelihoods at home and abroad
7. Work with the UK Government to ensure that new trade agreements will guarantee high environmental and human rights standards, particularly around deforestation, accompanied by strict enforcement measures.
8. Work with non-traditional partners such as NGOs to further strengthen teaching on climate change, nature and deforestation within the new curriculum and support educators towards achieving this goal.
9. Examine the financial risks that deforestation presents to the investments of the Wales Pension Partnership and explore the potential for engagement with or divestment from companies driving deforestation on the basis that this presents an investment risk to the pool.
10. Ensure vulnerable countries and communities suffering the effects of climate change, nature loss and deforestation are supported to help them adapt and prosper as part of Wales’ ambition to be a globally responsible nation through the Wales and Africa programme.