At the global level, land-grabs and deforestation, and the human rights violations, abuses, and corruption that facilitate them, are a major threat to the lives of communities. Land-grabs and deforestation often accompany the development of large-scale agriculture, extractive, infrastructure and other projects. These projects are receiving monies from powerful financial institutions – many of which are based in the European Union.
Friends of the Earth Europe, Global Witness, Share Action and others are campaigning for Europe's financial regulations to be strengthened with robust environmental, social and governance (ESG) safeguards, to stop investors from propping up companies that are grabbing land, abusing human rights and causing damage to the environment.
The European Commission established in late 2016 the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance to advice on developing a comprehensive EU strategy on sustainable finance. This High Level Expert Group has now published its interim report to advise on developing a comprehensive EU strategy on sustainable finance.
In this statement, Friends of the Earth Europe, Global Witness and Share Action respond to this interim report and urge the European Commission to build upon its recommendations. They also call on the Expert Group to be bolder and more courageous in the final recommendations to be issued at the end of this year.