EU Backs “Groundbreaking” Deforestation Law

The European Council and Parliament have agreed a proposal to minimise the risk of deforestation and forest degradation resulting from EU imports and exports. The deal sets mandatory due diligence rules for entities involved in trading commodities – palm oil, beef, timber, coffee, cocoa, rubber and soy – and certain derived products, including chocolate, furniture and paper. This means firms will be required to trace the products they are selling back to the plot of land where it was produced. The proposal also establishes a benchmarking system, which assigns to third and EU countries a level of risk related to deforestation and forest degradation, which will determine specific obligations on inspections and controls. NGOs welcomed the deal, with the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) describing it as “groundbreaking”. Anke Schulmeister-Oldenhove, Senior Forest Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office, said: “The EU will not only change the rules of the game for consumption within its borders, but will also create a big incentive for other countries fueling deforestation to change their policies.”

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