The world has its first ever law banning imports of products linked to deforestation.
Ten years ago it was small-print on the last page of the European Union’s 7th environmental action programme, but today the European Council adopted the EU Regulation on deforestation-free products (EUDR). It will require all companies selling certain products on the EU market to prove that they haven’t contributed to deforestation.
Companies – and the EU Competent Authorities that have the responsibility of implementing the law - now have 18 months to prepare before the law comes into action, at the end of 2024.
“The rest of the world will be watching whether the EU can successfully implement the Regulation. If the Commission and Member States show they can cooperate well, it could mark a seismic shift in the fight against global deforestation, and set an important precedent for similar laws under development in China and the United States” said Nicole Polsterer, Sustainable consumption and production campaigner at Fern.
Fern has highlighted from the outset that unless the EU also incentivises improvements to forest governance, there is a risk that this law will not address the root causes of deforestation and that forest-risk commodities will therefore leak to other markets.
Indra Van Gisbergen, Forest and Governance Campaigner at Fern said: “The EU should be lauded for passing this law. But the fierce backlash it is attracting from countries where many of the legislation’s targeted goods are sourced, as well as from the many of the smallholder who produce them, shows that the real work starts now. We must listen to their concerns and establish genuine partnerships to address them.”
The Regulation will come into force in 18 months. Yet to fulfil the many invested hopes, big challenges need to be overcome.
Van Gisbergen added: “If the Regulation is to become the global benchmark in the fight against deforestation that so many EU citizens want, then effective partnerships must be at its heart. In concrete terms, this means the Commission swiftly developing the comprehensive Partnerships that the Regulation requires. Fern and our allies in producer countries laid out how to do this in a recent report. Partnership is the key to unlocking the Regulation’s potential: from ensuring smallholders - including local communities and women – don’t bear the financial brunt of the Regulation, to supporting producer countries to implement it, and preventing goods produced on deforested land from being sold on markets outside the EU.”
Category: Press Releases