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Making the EU a global leader in fighting deforestation

Nearly 80% of all deforestation is caused by international trade in palm oil, beef, soy and other forest-risk commodities. In this project Weimer researches the potential of EU environmental law and regulation to stop tropical deforestation that is caused by agricultural conversion.

Being one of the largest importers of forest-risk commodities, the EU increasingly recognises its responsibility for tropical deforestation, and is currently searching for regulatory approaches to ensure that commodities traded on the EU market do not contribute to deforestation.

Weimer’s research explores one particularly promising regulatory pathway, namely EU environmental unilateralism. In this approach, the EU uses market access to unilaterally impose sustainability standards on foreign traders and producers.

In her research, Weimer develops empirically informed normative and legal proposals on how to improve the legitimacy and reception of EU unilateral environmental regulation in exporting countries, such as Indonesia and Brazil. She also produces broader insights into the question whether, and if so, how unilaterally imposed EU environmental regulation can be justified from the perspective of affected actors in third countries.

The research project engages a broad range of societal and academic actors. The research agenda is determined by involving key stakeholders from policy, civil society and academia.

The 3-year project is funded through a Veni grant by Dutch Research Council (NWO). This is the second NWO grant awarded to Maria Weimer. In 2012 she was awarded the Rubicon grant for her research project 'Defending values in the World Trade Organisation? Exploring the relationship between EU food regulation, WTO law, and the social disintegration of markets.'