Innovation Alliance for training programmes for deforestation-free supply chains in Europe
Deforestation, driven primarily by the expansion of agricultural land (mostly for producing specific commodities, so-called ‚forest-risk commodities‘ or FRC), is a major contributor to climate change and biodiversity loss in tropical countries. According to the FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020, an estimated 420 million hectares of forest were deforested worldwide between 1990 and 2020, with a rate of 10 million hectares per year from 2015 to 2020.
Forest-risk commodities, such as cattle, wood, palm oil, soy, cocoa, coffee, and rubber are significant drivers of deforestation in tropical countries and the European Union is the second-largest importer of commodity-driven deforestation and is responsible for 16% of the global embedded deforestation.
Efforts to reduce such rates face many challenges, such as lack of transparency, limited practical effectiveness, and conceptual difficulties regarding terminologies and definitions. Existing regulatory mechanisms are frequently fragmented and ineffective. To overcome these challenges, the European Commission has recently published the Deforestation-free products Regulation, which seeks to ban the imports to and exports from the EU of FRC produced on deforested or degraded land after 2020.
The lack of comprehensive coverage of deforestation-related topics in national education and training curricula also challenges the path to a deforestation-free future.
The EMMA4EU project, co-funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ Programme, aims to fill this gap by connecting different knowledge sectors, in an interdisciplinary approach. The project alliance will unite higher education institutions, vocational training organizations, businesses, public organizations, and NGOs to establish an EU Alliance. This Alliance will develop innovative training solutions and provide new professionals with transversal and digital skills (Deforestation-Free Supply Chains Managers) to support the transition to more sustainable supply chains for forest-risk commodities and comply with the Deforestation-free Products Regulation requirements.
EMMA4EU partnership: Etifor, Università degli Studi di Padova, Wageningen University & Research, Preferred by Nature, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Open Forests, Copenhagen Business School, AidEnvironment, Makerere University, Fòrema.
Project reference: EMMA4EU (Innovation Alliance for training programmes for deforestation-free supply chains in Europe) ERASMUS2027- project ID 101111729.
Project website: under construction
Project status: running (June 2023 – May 2026)
EC funding for the project: 1.490.193,00 €