New EU Proposal:Deforestation and forest degradation - reducing the impact of products placed on the EU market
Source: EU Commission
- The proposed regulation on deforestation-free products would require operators and traders to carry out due diligence on the origin of six commodities linked to the destruction and degradation of forest.
The proposal on deforestation and forest degradation – reducing the impact of products placed on the EU market aims to protect forests by minimising the EU’s contribution to deforestation and forest degradation worldwide and by promoting the consumption of products from deforestation-free supply chains in the EU. The proposal will explore possibilities such as mandatory labelling, voluntary commitments and labelling, due diligence, verification schemes and methods such as the Product Environmental Footprint and Organisational Environmental Footprint.
The initiative will be developed in parallel to the FLEGT Regulation and the EU Timber Regulation. While the FLEGT Regulation does look at illegal logging, it does not address deforestation due to agricultural expansion. The legal bases of the proposal include Article 191(2) TFEU, which requires the Union policy on environment to aim at a high level of protection, as well as Article 21(2.f) which requires the Union to help develop international measures to preserve and improve the quality of the environment and the sustainable management of global natural resources, in order to ensure sustainable development. It was adopted by the Commission adoption on 17 November 2021.
The Commission has pointed out that activities related to forestry and other land use were responsible for 12% of greenhouse gas emissions. This makes them the second major cause of climate change after the burning of fossil fuels. Furthermore, around 80% of global deforestation is driven by agricultural expansion, a phenomenon that has roots in the global demand for products such as palm oil, soya and beef. The EU plays a significant role in this issue, and according to a study funded by the Commission, the EU imported and consumed one-third of the globally traded agricultural products associated with deforestation between 1990 and 2008. Over that period, EU consumption was responsible for 10% of worldwide deforestation associated with the production of goods or services.