How U.S. Imports of Agricultural Commodities Contribute to Deforestation and Why it Matters

The world is losing an area of forest the size of Virginia every year.

Nearly half of this deforestation is due to the illegal conversion of forests to pasture and cropland. And around a third of agricultural products grown or raised on deforested land, such as cattle, palm oil, and soybeans, enter global supply chains. This exposes international markets, including the U.S., to environmental and human rights abuses, corruption, and organized crime through imports of raw materials and related manufactured goods, while undercutting companies trying to source legally and responsibly.
To learn more about how U.S. trade drives deforestation, and why it matters, read EIA’s brief.

Voluntary corporate initiatives have failed to reduce, let alone stop global deforestation.

As one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of agricultural commodities, the United States must take leadership by prohibiting agricultural commodities produced on illegally deforested land from entering the U.S. market and requiring companies to carry out and report due diligence on imports of commodities linked to deforestation, including full supply chain traceability.

More than 40 environmental, human rights and faith-based organizations are supporting a bill being led by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) that would represent a huge step forward in preventing the U.S. market from driving deforestation and crime overseas.