Nature and Biodiversity

EU lawmakers back ban on goods linked to deforestation

Deforestation is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Deforestation is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Image: REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Kate Abnett
Reporter, Reuters
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Nature and Biodiversity?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Future of the Environment is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Future of the Environment

  • The EU has approved a ban on imports of coffee, beef, soy and other commodities if they are linked to the destruction of the world's forests.
  • Companies selling goods into the EU will have to provide a due diligence statement and 'verifiable' information proving their goods were not grown on land deforested after 2020 – otherwise they will face large fines.
  • Deforestation is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the new law aims to tackle the EU's contribution to these emissions.

The European Parliament approved a landmark deforestation law on Wednesday to ban imports into the EU of coffee, beef, soy and other commodities if they are linked to the destruction of the world's forests.

The law will require companies that sell goods into the European Union to produce a due diligence statement and "verifiable" information proving their goods were not grown on land deforested after 2020, or risk hefty fines.

The rules aim to eliminate deforestation from the supply chains of a range of everyday items sold in Europe. It will apply to soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa, coffee, rubber, charcoal, and derived products including leather, chocolate and furniture.

Deforestation is responsible for about 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change, and the landmark law aims to tackle the EU's contribution to this.

"European consumers can now rest assured that they will no longer be unwittingly complicit in deforestation," said Parliament's negotiator on the law, Christophe Hansen.

Discover

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about deforestation?

The law does not target any one country, but has faced pushback from some that it would affect.

Indonesia and Malaysia, the world's largest palm oil exporters, have accused the EU of blocking market access for their palm oil. The EU is the world's third-largest palm oil importer.

Malaysia has said it could stop exporting palm oil to the EU in response to the law, while palm oil smallholders warn that they cannot comply with its requirement to prove where goods were produced, using geolocation data.

Have you read?

The EU Parliament approved a deal on the rules, which was agreed by EU negotiators last year.

Brazilian agribusiness group ABAG also bashed the move, saying the South American country - one of the world's largest food suppliers, a major soy, coffee and beef producer - already regulates deforestation under its forest code, allowing some areas to be cleared.

"It was a unilateral move they took without listening to Brazil," ABAG's head Luiz Carlos Carvalho said in an interview, adding his association had been in touch with Brazil's foreign relations ministry to look for ways to dispute the legislation.

The law needs formal approval from EU countries - a process that typically waves through pre-agreed laws - before it can enter into force. Once that happens, large companies would have 18 months to comply, and smaller firms 24 months.

Companies that fail to comply could face fines of up to 4% of a company's turnover in an EU member state. EU countries will carry out compliance checks to enforce the rules.

Loading...
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Nature and BiodiversityIndustries in Depth
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

5 ways sustainable forestry can support climate action, development and biodiversity

Charlotte Kaiser

April 23, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum