The EU’s Deforestation Regulations

The European Union has established regulations to combat deforestation, with a focus on reducing the importation and consumption of products linked to deforestation and forest degradation. This set of regulations has been delayed – it was due to come into force in December 2024.

Key aspects of the EU’s deforestation regulations include:-

Regulation on Deforestation-Free Products (2023)

The EU adopted a new regulation that requires companies to ensure that products sold in the EU do not contribute to deforestation and forest degradation. This regulation covers a range of commodities, including palm oil, soy, coffee, cocoa, timber, and cattle, as well as derived products such as leather, chocolate, and furniture.

Due Diligence Requirements

Companies must perform due diligence to trace the origin of the commodities and ensure that they have not been produced on land that was deforested after December 31, 2020. This includes collecting geographic information on the land where the commodities were produced.

Risk Assessment and Mitigation

Companies must assess the risk of deforestation in their supply chains and take steps to mitigate these risks. This may involve obtaining additional information from suppliers, conducting audits, or implementing more stringent sourcing policies.

Reporting and Transparency

Companies are required to report on their due diligence processes and findings. This information must be made available to the public and to the relevant authorities.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

The regulation includes provisions for penalties for companies that fail to comply with the due diligence and reporting requirements. These penalties can include fines and other sanctions.

Collaboration with Producer Countries

The EU works with countries that produce the relevant commodities to promote sustainable production practices and support the enforcement of forest conservation laws.

Promotion of Sustainable Practices

The regulation encourages the adoption of sustainable practices among producers and aims to support initiatives that help reduce deforestation, such as certification schemes and sustainable land management practices.

These regulations are part of the EU’s broader strategy to protect forests globally, address climate change, and promote biodiversity conservation. They reflect a growing recognition of the role that consumption patterns in developed countries play in driving deforestation in tropical and subtropical regions.

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