30 May 2023
The Council of the European Union approved a law against deforestation. With this new legislation, Europe will prohibit the import and sale of agro-industrial products (wood, coffee, beef, leather, soybeans, chocolate, etc.) that have been generated in areas whose native forests have been deforested. From now on, large and medium-sized companies will have only 18 months for their supply chains to be “deforestation-free.” Report by CueroAmérica.
The new law was formally approved by the Council of the European Union and will begin to be applied in the first quarter of 2025, while small companies will have a little more time to adapt.
The new regulation, formally adopted by the European Parliament, will require companies that import products of agricultural origin to obtain a declaration of “due diligence” or traceability, confirming that these goods do not come from deforested land or linked to forest degradation.
The member of parliament responsible for pushing the legislation, Christophe Hansen, said the passing of the law was a key step in the fight against climate change. He also stressed that he believes this law will help deepen trade relations between the European Union and countries that “share our environmental values.”
Under the new EU law, the European Commission will carry out an assessment to classify countries as low, standard or high deforestation risk, with higher levels of due diligence required for goods imported from higher-risk jurisdictions. Authorities will use satellite monitoring tools and DNA analysis to assess the origins of products, and companies that fail to comply with the new requirements will face significant fines.
The law’s passage follows a recent proposal by the European Commission to crack down on the practice of greenwashing, in which companies make unsubstantiated or misleading claims about the sustainability of their products.
In parallel, the European Commission is conducting an impact assessment to determine whether the law will also cover other wooded land and whether it will apply to the financial sector.
For her part, Anke Schulmeister, Senior Forest Policy Officer at WWF’s European Policy Office warned that “today’s vote is not the finish line, but part of a relay race to end deforestation and land conversion.” ecosystems promoted by the EU. Now we need to roll up our sleeves to make this law work on the ground and continue to work constructively and ambitiously to close the remaining loopholes.”