Netherlands is Europe's biggest importer of deforestation products
Last year, the Netherlands was the European Union’s biggest importer of products that the European Commission links to deforestation and land degradation, a decline in the quality and fertility of land. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reported this on Thursday. The products involved concern palm oil, wood, and cocoa, for example. The Netherlands imported many more of these types of products from outside the EU last year than 20 years earlier.
Most products where deforestation may occur during production come from Brazil. These mainly concern soy and wood. Dutch imports of products from Brazil last year amounted to a total of 3.2 billion euros, according to CBS. 1.9 billion euros worth of soya came from Brazil, and almost 884 million euros worth of wood.
Parts of the Amazon rainforest, which is located in Brazil, among other places, are disappearing due to deforestation. The land that becomes available as a result is used for, among other things, growing timber and soy for trade. The statistics office does not know to what extent the Netherlands imports products that actually cause deforestation and land degradation.
Compared to 20 years ago, the Netherlands imported 21 percent less soy from outside the EU last year, according to CBS. But imports of wood and wood products from outside the EU increased by a significant 125 percent during that period. That makes the Netherlands the second largest importer in the EU. Cocoa imports were 67 percent higher last year than in 2002.
Of the imported products that may cause deforestation, 28 percent go abroad again. Cocoa is exported relatively often after import, CBS reported. The same applies to palm oil and soy, but these products are first processed in the Netherlands before leaving the country.
Reporting by ANP