Reducing Commodity-Driven Tropical Deforestation: Political Feasibility and ‘Theories of Change’ for EU Policy Options

Reducing Commodity-Driven Deforestation – Bager et al. (2020)

39 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2020

See all articles by Simon Bager

Simon Bager

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Earth and Life Institute

Martin Persson

Chalmers University of Technology

Tiago Reis

Université catholique de Louvain - Earth and Life Institute

Date Written: June 15, 2020

Abstract

Consumer countries play an important role in driving tropical deforestation through imports of forest risk commodities (FRCs), but their role in reducing deforestation has received limited scholarly attention. Drawing on suggestions from grey literature and a European Commission (EC) public consultation, we identify 1,141 policy proposals for the EU and other consumer countries to address tropical deforestation, which we summarize into 86 unique policy options. Two-third of these are informational and supportive policies, while regulatory and especially market-based options are less-often proposed. We assess the political feasibility and map the ‘theory of change’ (TOC) through which the policies address tropical deforestation. Several feasible options exist, though most of these rely on less coercive — informational and cooperative — policy instruments. Most policy proposals lack an explicit and proven TOC, reducing their potential impact on reducing deforestation. Due diligence and multi-stakeholder fora stand out as policies that are feasible, yet rest on convincing TOCs. To increase the feasibility and impact of consumer-country deforestation policy options, we propose three principles:

i) Build policies on a clear theory of change,

ii) apply policy packaging and sequencing, and

iii) work with stakeholders in key supply-chains and regions, broadening scope over time.

Keywords: Deforestation, Conservation Policy, European Union, Political Feasibility, Supply Chains, Land Use Change, Forest Risk Commodities, Demand-Side Policy, Sustainable Development

JEL Classification: Q15, Q17, Q18, Q23, Q24, Q27, Q28, Q56

Suggested Citation

Bager, Simon and Persson, Martin and Reis, Tiago, Reducing Commodity-Driven Tropical Deforestation: Political Feasibility and ‘Theories of Change’ for EU Policy Options (June 15, 2020). Reducing Commodity-Driven Deforestation – Bager et al. (2020), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3624073 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3624073

Simon Bager (Contact Author)

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Earth and Life Institute ( email )

Place Louis Pasteur 3
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium

Martin Persson

Chalmers University of Technology ( email )

SE-412 96 Goteborg
Sweden

Tiago Reis

Université catholique de Louvain - Earth and Life Institute ( email )

Belgium

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