Fern and the Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) Working Group of the European Parliament, a cross-party group of Members if the European Parliament (MEPs), co-organised the event to discuss practical solutions for regulating company behaviour and supply chains of forest risk commodities. Panellists explored options for regulating agricultural supply chains and how an overarching horizontal EU human rights regulation could complement and interact with a product-centred forest-specific regulation.
This discussion happened against the backdrop of:
- Growing recognition by policymakers, companies and civil society that regulatory action is urgently needed to ensure business respect human and environmental rights and halt deforestation and forest degradations.
An announcement in April 2020 by European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, that following a recent Directorate General (DG) Justice Study, the Commission will introduce rules for mandatory corporate environmental and human rights due diligence.
The publication of the “Communication on stepping up EU action to protect and restore forests” and a Roadmap, exploring ways EU legislation can address deforestation in supply chains.
An upcoming DG Environment (ENV) impact assessment which will look at regulatory measures to avoid or minimise the placing of products associated with deforestation or forest degradation on the EU market.
A recent European Parliament draft report proposing the adoption of new due diligence legislation to be implemented by all operators.
The event was facilitated by Vice President of the European Parliament and Chair of the RBC Working Group Heidi Hautala and Bernd Lange, Chair of the Committee on Trade. It was attended by more than 180 people.
Speakers included, Zsofia Kerecsen, DG Justice, EU Corporate Governance, Bojan Grlaš, DG Environment, Team Leader international deforestation; Delara Burkhardt, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and Rapporteur on the Legislative Own Initiative (INL) Report regarding an EU legal framework to halt and reverse EU-driven global deforestation, Felipe Carazo of the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) and Duncan Brack, Independent analyst, and Shivani Kannabhiran, Sector Lead at the RBC unit of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).