European Parliament Toughens New Deforestation Law

The European Parliament has voted for a new deforestation law which will make “significant improvements” to the European Commision’s original proposal on new rules to ensure deforestation-free products. The law will require companies to conduct due diligence to ascertain that agricultural products sold in Europe are not subject to deforestation and human rights violations, including upholding Indigenous peoples’ rights. The initial draft law will be strengthened by “widening the scope” of commodities to include beef, soy, palm oil, timber, cacao, coffee, natural rubber, maize and leather. It will also extend the definition of “forests” to include other wooded lands. However, the proposal does not address the impacts of EU commodity imports on fragile ecosystems such as wetlands and peatlands. Anke Schulmeister-Oldenhove, WWF’s European Senior Forest Policy Officer, said: “The vote in the Parliament today for a strong deforestation law has been a clear yes: a yes to reducing the EU’s footprint, and a yes to protecting forests and savannahs and the rights of indigenous peoples. It has also been a yes to the calls of EU citizens who do not want to fuel nature destruction through their consumption.” 

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