Riskier business: The UK’s overseas land footprint
The report notes that some of the increase in land area required is because of UK policy shifts, such as greater demand for wood as a source of renewable energy. For the seven commodities mentioned, the total land footprint is 21.3 MHa, 62% of which is for timber and pulp & paper. Despite this, current UK legislation does not require overseas impacts on biodiversity to be monitored or prevented.
Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.