EU Deforestation Regulation an Important Precedent for Other Nations to Follow

Gemma Tillack, Forest Policy Director at Rainforest Action Network (RAN), responded to the adoption of a new EU importation law that aims to prevent companies from selling commodities linked to deforestation and forest degradation.

“The EU deforestation regulation will set an important precedent for other nations to follow,” said Tillack. “The signs of a climate emergency are all around us and to avoid climate breakdown, we must tackle the twin drivers of the climate crisis — fossil fuels and deforestation.

“The EU deforestation regulation may drive rapid reforms in the supply chains most responsible for deforestation –– especially beef, soy, palm oil, pulp and paper, and coffee, as producers of these commodities will be subject to additional due diligence. Major agribusiness traders will need to show the location where all raw materials were produced and prove they were not linked to deforestation.

“New regulations in procurement countries must work hand in hand with more action from big banks and brands to end deforestation, forest degradation, and the conversion of natural ecosystems in their supply chains or investment portfolios.

“A major strength of the EU regulation is its requirement for traceability to the plantation, farm, or ranch level. The provisions that call for geo-location data for all raw materials will drive much-needed pressure to achieve traceability supply chains. RAN’s recent investigation found that the lack of traceability to the farm level was resulting in palm oil that was produced illegally on protected carbon-dense peat forests entering global supply chains.

“In order to limit climate change we need to ensure that forest-risk commodity supply chains are implementing No Deforestation, No Peatland, and No Exploitation (NDPE) practices. All governments procuring forest-risk commodities must develop and implement laws and enforcement frameworks that ensure that all imported products are made in compliance with best practice standards that prohibit deforestation, the conversion of natural ecosystems, and human rights abuses.

“World leaders are increasingly recognizing and committing to the protection and restoration of the world’s forests as a core component of addressing climate change.”