Duncan Brack

Welcome to my website. I'm an independent policy analyst and adviser, working on a range of international environmental issues. This page tells you about my professional activities. 

Click on the Political page for details of my Liberal Democrat activities and publications about politics and history.

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My work on

environmental policy

I'm an independent policy analyst and adviser, with extensive experience of policy formation and development in UK government and politics, EU institutions and the UN and its agencies.

I'm also an Associate Fellow at Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs) and an Associate of Green Alliance.

My areas of expertise include deforestation, agriculture and climate change; forest risk commodity supply chains; international forests policy; forest governance and the timber trade; forests and bio-energy; public procurement; the interaction between environmental regulation and trade rules; ozone depletion and the Montreal Protocol; and international environmental crime.

Read on to find out about my current and recent projects and publications. 

Existing commitments permitting, I'm always open to new and interesting project proposals: do get in touch if you'd like to discuss one.


Current projects

Forests, agriculture and land use

  • Enforcing due diligence legislation (Fern)

  • Research on the appropriate smart mix of policy options to address human rights and environmental issues in agricultural supply chains (UNIQUE Forestry and Land Use, for GIZ)

  • Biomass for energy: global sources of demand and supply and impacts on forests and the climate (Chatham House)

  • Specialist advice to DFID’s Forest Governance, Markets and Climate programme (FGMC PMST)


Past projects

Forest risk commodities, supply chains and trade

  • EU action to protect forests (Efeca, for Tropical Forest Alliance)

  • Promoting living incomes in the cocoa sector (Fairtrade International)

  • Due diligence regulation in the cocoa sector (Barry Callebaut / Mars / Mondelez)

  • UK Global Resource Initiative Task Force (Efeca, for UK government)

  • Options for controlling EU imports of cocoa (Fern / Tropenbos International / Fairtrade International)

  • Sustainability criteria for timber in EU green public procurement and ecolabels (Efeca, for European Commission)

  • UK timber procurement policy: survey of implementation by central government (WWF UK)

  • Feasibility study for an EU Action Plan on Deforestation (COWI, for European Commission)

  • The EU Timber Regulation and the Modern Slavery Act: parallels and lessons (Forest Trends)

  • Corporate zero-deforestation commitments (Fern)

  • Deforestation and agriculture: applying supply chain controls (Chatham House and Forest Trends)

  • Demand-led reduction in global deforestation: options for an EU Action Plan (Fern)

  • Timber procurement policies world-wide (Chatham House)

  • Controlling imports of palm oil: interaction with WTO rules (Global Canopy Programme)

Forests and bioenergy

  • Bioenergy and carbon capture and storage (BECCS) (Chatham House)

  • The impact of EU consumption of biomass on emissions and on US forests (Chatham House)

  • Demand for land use for energy (Chatham House)

  • Biomass for energy: global sources of demand and supply and impacts on forests and the climate (Chatham House)

Forest governance and illegal logging

  • Controlling the illegal trade in wildlife, timber and fish after Brexit: options for the UK (Forest Trends)

  • Illegal forest conversion and global deforestation: lessons from efforts to reduce illegal and unsustainable behaviour in international trade (Forest Trends)

  • The EU’s FLEGT Action Plan (EU Court of Auditors)

  • Independent monitoring initiatives and Voluntary Partnership Agreements (Global Witness)

  • WTO rules and consumer-country measures against illegal timber (Chatham House)

Forests (other)

  • Forests and climate change (UN Forum on Forests)

  • Review of options for international forests policy for the UK post-Brexit (FGMC PMST)

  • Global markets for forest products (UN Forum on Forests)

  • UK aid spending on forests (UK NGO Forest Coalition)

  • Forests in the Sustainable Development Goals (IIED)

  • Chinese foreign investment in forestry and industries with high impact on forests (Forest Trends)

  • REDD+ Funding Opportunities (ACP Secretariat)

Montreal Protocol

  • Summary and analysis of developing-country national inventories on HFC consumption (IGSD, for Climate and Clean Air Coalition)

  • Background papers for 2018 Inter-Regional Thematic Technical Workshops and Regional Network Meetings for National Ozone Officers (UN Environment Ozone Action)

  • National legislation on HFCs (IGSD)

  • Strategy for disposal and destruction of ODS for five Central African countries (UNIDO)

  • A global response to HFCs through fair and effective ozone and climate policies (Chatham House)

  • Campaign evaluation: HFC phase-out (Children’s Investment Fund Foundation)


  • The environmental impacts of UK trade policy post-Brexit (RSPB)

  • The illegal trade in wildlife, timber and fish: estimates of scale and options for reducing illegal behaviour by improving governance (World Bank)

  • The impact on developing countries of the EU’s adoption of circular-economy models (UNIDO)

  • International policy frameworks affecting the trade in great apes (Arcus Foundation)

  • Greening the machinery of government (WWF UK)



Forest risk commodities, supply chains and trade

  • Promoting Living Incomes in the Cocoa Sector: Policy Options for Consumer Countries (Fairtrade International, 2020)

  • Tropical Forest Alliance Roundtable Discussions on EU Action to Protect Forests: Summary of Findings (Tropical Forest Alliance, 2020)

  • Towards Sustainable Cocoa Supply Chains: Regulatory options for the EU (Fern, Tropenbos International and Fairtrade International, 2019)

  • Tackling Deforestation and the Trade in Forest Risk Commodities: Consumer-country measures and the ‘legality approach’(Forest Trends, 2019)

  • Getting the ‘Bads’ Out of Goods: Evolution from voluntary to regulated approaches in reducing the undesirable impacts of global trade (with Michael Wolosin, Forest Trends, 2018)

  • Buying Right? Implementation of the UK's Timber Procurement Policy 2017 (WWF UK, 2018)

  • The UK Modern Slavery Act and the EU Timber Regulation – Synergies and divergences (Forest Trends, 2017)

  • Company Promises: How businesses are meeting commitments to end deforestation (with Mark Gregory, Fern, 2017)

  • Agricultural Commodity Supply Chains: Trade, consumption and deforestation (with Adelaide Glover and Laura Wellesley, Chatham House, 2016)

  • Reducing Deforestation in Agricultural Commodity Supply Chains: Using Public Procurement Policy (Chatham House, 2015)

  • Duty free? Making EU Tariffs work for people and forests; The Power of Public Purchasing: Making EU public procurement policy work for people and forests; WTO Compatibility with EU Action on Deforestation (all Fern, 2015)

  • Promoting Legal and Sustainable Timber: Using public procurement policy (Chatham House, 2014)

  • Controlling Imports of Palm Oil: Interaction with WTO rules (Global Canopy Programme, 2013)

  • Ending Global Deforestation: Policy options for consumer countries (with Rob Bailey, Chatham House and Forest Trends, 2013)

  • Social Issues in Timber Procurement Policies (Chatham House, 2012)

  • Local Government Timber Procurement Policies (Chatham House, 2007)

  • Public Procurement of Timber: EU member state initiatives for sourcing legal and sustainable timber (Chatham House, 2005)

Forests and bioenergy

  • Net Zero and Beyond: What Role for Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage? (with Richard King, Chatham House, 2020)

  • Woody Biomass for Power and Heat: Demand and Supply in Selected EU Member States (with James Hewitt and Tina Marie Marchand, Chatham House, 2018)

  • Woody Biomass for Power and Heat: Impacts on the Climate (Chatham House, 2017)

  • Burning Matter: Making bioenergy policy work for people and forests (Fern, 2015)

Forest governance and illegal logging

  • Illegal Logging and the Illegal Wildlife Trade: Synergies and Lessons (Chatham House, 2018)

  • ‘The consumer-country response to illegal logging and the international trade in illegal timber’, in William Nikolakis and John Innes (eds.), Forests and Globalisation: Challenges and opportunities for sustainable development (Routledge, 2014)

  • Trade in Illegal Timber: The response in the Netherlands; Trade in Illegal Timber: The response in the UK (Chatham House, 2014)

  • Treatment of Conversion Timber in Consumer-Country Measures (Forest Trends, 2013)

  • Exploring credibility gaps in VPAs: A review of independent monitoring initiatives and lessons to learn (with Claudine Leger, Global Witness, 2013)

  • Combating Illegal Logging: Interaction with WTO rules (Chatham House, 2013) 

  • The Australian Government’s Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill: WTO implications (Chatham House, IISD and TKN, 2012)

  • ‘Excluding Illegal Timber and Improving Forest Governance’ in Paivi Lujala and Siri Aas Rustad (eds.), High-Value Natural Resources and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding (Earthscan, 2012)

  • Combating Illegal Logging: Consumer-Country Measures (Chatham House, 2010) 

  • Keeping Illegal Fish and Timber off the Market: A Comparison of EU Regulations (with Heike Baumuller and Katharina Umpfenbach, Chatham House, 2009) 

  • Due Diligence in the EU Timber Market (Chatham House, 2008)

  • Illegal Logging (Chatham House, 2007)

  • Controlling Illegal Logging: Lessons from the US Lacey Act (Chatham House, 2007)

  • Excluding Illegal Timber from EU Markets: Options for the EU and its member states (Chatham House, 2006)

  • A Licensing System for Legal Timber (Chatham House, 2004)

  • Controlling Imports of Illegal Timber: Options for Europe (with Chantal Marijnissen and Saskia Ozinga, Chatham House and Fern, 2002)

  • Controlling the International Trade in Illegally Logged Timber and Wood Products (with Gavin Hayman and Kevin Gray, Chatham House, 2002)

  • Intergovernmental Actions on Illegal Logging (with Gavin Hayman, Chatham House, 2001)

Forests (other)

  • Forests and Climate Change (UNFF, 2019)

  • Sustainable Consumption and Production of Forest Products (UNFF, 2018)

  • Chinese Overseas Investment in Forestry and Industries with High Impact on Forests: Official guidelines and credit policies for Chinese enterprises operating and investing abroad (Forest Trends, 2014)

  • Sustainable Development Goals and Forests (IIED, 2014)

Montreal Protocol

  • National Hydrofluorocarbon Inventories: A summary of the key findings from the first tranche of studies (Climate and Clean Air Coalition, 2016)

  • National Legislation on Hydrofluorocarbons (IGSD, 2015)

  • A Global Response to HFCs through Fair and Effective Ozone and Climate Policies (Chatham House, 2014)

  • Global Environmental Outlook 4 (UNEP, 2007): contributing author to ozone depletion sections

  • ODS Tracking: Feasibility study on developing a system for monitoring the transboundary movement of controlled ozone-depleting substances between the Parties (with Claire Bass, Alexander von Bismarck, Ezra Clark, Danielle Grabiel and Jade Saunders, Chatham House and Environmental Investigation Agency, 2006)

  • International Trade and the Montreal Protocol (Chatham House, 1996)

Environmental institutions

  • Greening the Machinery of Government: mainstreaming environmental objectives (WWF, 2015)

  • Global Environmental Institutions: Analysis and Options for Change (with Joy Hyvarinen, Chatham House, 2000)

International environmental crime

  • Illegal Logging and the Illegal Wildlife Trade: Synergies and Lessons (Chatham House, 2018)

  • ‘Limitations of anti-money laundering techniques: controlling imports of illegally logged timber’, in Gregory Rose (ed.), Following the Proceeds of Environmental Crime: Forests, Fish and Filthy Lucre (Routledge, 2014)

  • Series of papers on illegal trade in environmentally sensitive products for OECD joint working party on trade and environment (2009–10)

  • International Environmental Crime: The nature and control of environmental black markets (with Gavin Hayman, Chatham House, 2002)

Trade and environment

  • ‘Introduction’ and ‘Building Markets for Conflict-Free Goods’ (with Gavin Hayman) in Oli Brown, Mark Halle, Sonia Pena Moreno and Sebastian Winkler (eds.), Trade, Aid and Security: An Agenda for Peace and Development (Earthscan, 2007)

  • The World Trade Organisation and Sustainable Development: A Guide to the Debate (Chatham House, 2005)

  • The Next Trade War? GM Products, the Cartagena Protocol and the WTO (with Robert Falkner and Judith Goll, Chatham House, 2003)

  • ‘International Trade and the Environment’ in Trade Politics (Brian Hocking & Steven McGuire (eds), Routledge, 1999; second edition, 2003)

  • Multilateral Environmental Agreements and the WTO (with Kevin Gray, Chatham House and IISD, 2003)

  • ‘Environmental Treaties and Trade’ in Trade, Environment and the Millennium (Brad Chambers & Gary Sampson (eds), UN University, 1999; second edition, 2002)

  • Trading for the Future: Reforming the WTO (with Nick Clegg MEP, Centre for Reform, 2001)

  • The Environmental Impacts of Trade and Investment Liberalisation (report for OECD Environment Directorate, 2000)

  • International Trade and Climate Change Policies (with Craig Windram and Michael Grubb, Chatham House, 1999)

  • Trade, Investment and Environment (with Halina Ward (eds.), Chatham House, 1999)

  • Trade and Environment: Conflict or Compatibility? (ed., Chatham House, 1998)

  • International Trade and the Montreal Protocol (Chatham House, 1996)


Previous work experience

Special Adviser to UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

2010 – 2012

Special advisers assist the minister in implementing his political priorities, helping resolve disagreements with other government departments and liaising with the party and the outside world, including industry and NGOs. I covered roughly half the department’s responsibilities, including international climate change (including forest policy and REDD+), EU and UK climate policy, bio-energy, nuclear energy, coal, gas, fuel poverty and low-carbon economic policy.

Senior Research Fellow, Chatham House

2009 – 2010

The Energy, Environment and Resources department is one of the world’s leading interdisciplinary research centres for a wide range of major international environmental and energy policy issues. I continued to work on the areas I had developed as a Head of Programme and Associate Fellow (see below), mainly on issues of international environmental crime and illegal trade in natural resources.

Freelance researcher, editor and writer

2003 – 2008

Associate Fellow, Chatham House: leading a major programme of work on illegal logging and the control of trade in illegal timber, together with work on international environmental regimes, trade and sustainable development issues and international environmental crime. Also Senior Adviser, IISD / IUCN Trade, Aid and Security project, examining the links between natural resource exploitation and conflict, and how trade and aid policy can be used to prevent or manage conflict.

Programme Head, Chatham House

1998 – 2003

Leading the work of the Sustainable Development Programme (Chatham House’s largest research programme), including managing staff and Associates, budget-setting and monitoring and fund-raising and input into Chatham House’s senior management team. My own research work mainly covered the interaction between trade liberalisation and environmental protection, and enforcement of international environmental agreements, including the topic of international environmental crime, particularly illegal logging and associated trade.


Get in touch

Feel free to contact me if you'd like to discuss any aspect of my work, current or past. 

Existing commitments permitting, I'm always open to new and interesting project proposals: do get in touch if you'd like to discuss one.

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