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Beyond the EU Deforestation Regulation: The Strategic Role of the Milkywire Forest and Landscape Fund

Explore the pivotal role of Milkywire's Forest and Landscape Fund in forest restoration and deforestation prevention, amidst the EU's new regulations.

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GAIA AMAZONAS

Natalya Yakusheva Jarlebring

May 07, 2024

2 min read

Updated 2 months ago

With the European Union implementing stringent new regulations to combat deforestation, companies are required to ensure their supply chains are free from deforestation-related activities post-2020.  This regulatory push affects a wide range of industries, including agriculture, timber, and consumer goods. It’s an important step to level the playing field between companies taking responsibility, and companies that have yet to do so. It should serve as a critical driver for companies to reassess and realign their environmental strategies—not just for compliance, but for broader sustainability leadership.

Milkywire’s Forest and Landscapes Fund

Milkywire’s Forest and Landscapes Fund offers companies a curated portfolio of projects aiming to halt deforestation and restore forest ecosystems in some of the most biodiverse areas of the world. Through focusing on grassroots organizations, working hand in hand with local communities and indigenous peoples, it creates social, cultural and economic co-benefits. In addition, the portfolio of projects also includes strategic advocacy and policy work. Advocacy projects can - if successful - be critical in creating enabling conditions for transformative change. 

For example, Milkywire’s support has enabled Human Rights Watch to effectively advocate for the EU Deforestation-Free Products Regulation to be adopted, and to produce factual human rights research that will support its implementation. Their investigations focus on high-risk jurisdictions where decision makers need to concentrate attention and resources to address environmental destruction and rights abuses. With Milkywire’s continued support, they could redouble their efforts to seek adoption of the FOREST Act, the US equivalent of the EUDR, and explore potential for building a coalition in support of adoption of similar legislation in an Asian country.

The Imperative to Act Beyond Compliance

While compliance with the EU deforestation regulation is mandatory, adhering to these rules represents only the first step in a much broader commitment required from companies serious about ending deforestation and protecting biodiversity. Divesting from high-risk countries, while significant, is not a silver bullet. It can lead to a 'cut-and-run' approach that fails to address the underlying issues of deforestation and ecosystem degradation.

As businesses are deeply embedded within the natural ecosystems, their long term growth is intrinsically linked to the health of these biological systems. Thus, it is crucial for companies to engage in comprehensive actions that do more than just avoid risk or comply with legislation. 

Companies that are truly committed to ending deforestation must embrace a dual approach: responsibly managing their supply chains to avoid contributing to deforestation, while also investing in and supporting projects that restore and conserve forest ecosystems. This proactive involvement in environmental stewardship demonstrates a genuine commitment to forest and biodiversity conservation and positions these companies as leaders in sustainability.

Voluntary Pledges and Corporate Engagement

Initiatives such as 1t.org, which has garnered the support of hundreds of companies pledging to restore one trillion trees by 2030, illustrate the power of voluntary commitments in environmental stewardship. These pledges, alongside regulatory compliance, help shape a corporate culture that values and actively supports sustainability and community well-being. Milkywire is honored to be recognized in the World Economic Forum and 1t.org knowledge hubs as an implementing partner with our Forest and Landscapes Fund. 

Building Engagement and Ensuring Transparency

The Milkywire platform enables real-time engagement and transparent reporting, connecting companies, their employees and their customers directly with the impacts of their investments. This transparency is crucial for accountability and helps maintain trust among stakeholders, proving that their investments are effectively contributing to environmental sustainability.

About the author(s)
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Natalya Yakusheva JarlebringSenior Environmental Lead

natalya.jarlebring@milkywire.com

Natalya holds a PhD in Environmental Science and has previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher on International Forest Policy at the Department of Forest Science at the University of Helsinki. There she focused on the forest-climate nexus in implementation of the EU climate commitments. Natalya has extensive experience working as a consultant in natural resource management and development of sustainability policies for several international and donor organizations such as UNEP, UNDP, and GIZ.

Related Funds
Forests and Landscapes Fund

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