The European Union has taken a significant step towards combating deforestation with the adoption of the new EU Deforestation Regulation. This regulation mandates applicable companies to implement a rigorous due diligence process to ensure that certain products and commodities sold in or out of the EU are not the result of, or have led to, deforestation or forest degradation. The commodities subject to the Regulation include cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm-oil, soya, and wood, as well as any products that contain, have been fed with or made using these commodities, such as leather, chocolate, and beef.
The new regulation aims to tackle the significant impact of deforestation on the environment, biodiversity, and climate change. Deforestation is responsible for approximately 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to the loss of habitats and the extinction of species. The EU Deforestation Regulation is expected to have a significant impact, as the EU is one of the world’s largest markets for these commodities and products.
The regulation will be applicable to all companies that place these commodities and products on the EU market, whether they are based in the EU or outside. Once it enters into force, large companies will have 18 months to comply, while small and medium-sized enterprises will have 24 months. The due diligence process will require companies to identify and assess the risk of deforestation in their supply chains, take measures to mitigate these risks, and report on their actions.
The EU Deforestation Regulation is a significant milestone in the EU’s efforts to promote sustainable development and combat climate change. It is part of the EU’s broader strategy to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and to implement the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The regulation also complements other EU initiatives, such as the EU Timber Regulation, which prohibits the placing of illegally harvested timber on the EU market, and the EU Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade.
The regulation has been welcomed by environmental organizations, which have long called for measures to address the impact of deforestation on the environment and climate change. However, some industry representatives have expressed concerns about the practical implementation of the regulation and its potential impact on trade. They have called for a coordinated approach at the international level to ensure a level playing field for all actors in the global market.
The EU Deforestation Regulation is a significant step towards promoting sustainable development and combating climate change. It sends a strong signal to the international community about the EU’s commitment to these goals and sets an example for other countries to follow. The regulation’s success will depend on its effective implementation and enforcement, as well as on the cooperation of all actors in the global market to promote sustainable practices and combat deforestation.