An Illustrated guide to Europe’s role in Paraguay forest destruction


Earthsight and MEP Anna Cavazzini have published a new supply chain graphic showing how EU car leather helps fuel the loss of indigenous land in South America

A German version of the supply chain graphic. Credit: Anna Cavazzini

Earthsight’s September 2020 investigation revealed how indigenous land in Paraguay was being illegally cleared for leather destined for use in cars sold across Europe.

Grand Theft Chaco provided yet another example of the complicity of European companies, and unwittingly consumers, in accelerating deforestation overseas.

It showed why the introduction of strong demand-side regulations are critical to halt consumer markets’ complicity in the rampant destruction of the world’s forests.

Thankfully, legislative actions in the UK, Germany and at EU level are underway. These could be landmark laws that have a sizeable impact in reducing Europe’s deforestation footprint but only if they are comprehensive and far-reaching.

Recent proposals in Germany and the UK point to the clear need for improvements and more hard-hitting policies, while the EU is set to detail its own supply chain law plans later this year.

An illustrated explanation of our Grand Theft Chaco investigation. Credit: Earthsight/Anna Cavazzini

To show the impact our everyday consumption can have on the planet and to increase pressure on regulators in the EU, Germany and the UK we produced the above illustration in partnership with MEP Anna Cavazzini detailing our Grand Theft Chaco investigation. 

Cavazzini is a German member of the European Parliament for the Greens/EFA group. She is the Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

The map explains how leather used by some of Europe’s largest automotive firms is linked to illegal deforestation in Paraguay.

It details the process in which forest illegally cleared on a protected indigenous reserve to raise cattle sets off a chain of events that ultimately sees the leather derived from this production end up in the supply chains of major European car firms.

The map can be downloaded in English and German here.

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