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On 17 November 2021, the EU published a legislative proposal for a Regulation on deforestation-free products. The proposal aims to reduce deforestation by setting targets for commodities linked to a high risk of deforestation, commodities such as soy, beef, palm oil or coffee.
Before placing these products on the EU market or exporting them from the EU, operators and large traders would be required by the proposed regulation to carry out comprehensive, effective and continuous due diligence to prove that their products are not linked to deforestation or forest degradation, disclose information about their supply chains and report on their measures to avoid deforestation. The legislative proposal currently goes through the ordinary legislative procedure and must be formally adopted by both the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. The agreement can take up to two years before the Regulation comes into force.
Deforestation, overexploitation and climate change threaten forests around the world. The European Union also plays an inglorious role in this. To change this, the European Commission presented yesterday a legislative proposal to prevent products from forest destruction from entering the EU internal market in the future. At the same time, a general EU supply chain law is being planned. Is the EU Commission duplicating its efforts? No, say Julia Otten and Johannes Heeg from our member Germanwatch and the Initiative Lieferkettengestz.
The legislative proposal presented today by the EU Commission to exclude deforestation in the supply chains of companies operating in the EU market does not go far enough, according to the environment and development organisation Germanwatch. Katharina Brandt, policy advisor for agriculture at Germanwatch, says: "If we want to curb the climate crisis and stop the global extinction of species, savannahs and wetlands must not fall victim to the cultivation of soy for industrial livestock farming in Europe."
How do European livestock farmers know whether forests have been cleared for the cultivation of soy in their feed? So far, feed manufacturers have pretended to be unable to take responsibility for their supply chains. Tracing back the origin of the soy through many intermediaries along the global supply chain was too difficult for them. In the future, however, an EU law could require companies to take responsibility for their global supply chains.