Members' Research Service By / February 15, 2022

Towards deforestation-free commodities and products in the EU [EU Legislation in Progress]

Forests cover 31 % of the globe’s land surface, and host most of Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity, including 80 % of amphibian, 75 % of bird, and 68 % of mammal species.

© whitcomberd / Adobe Stock

Written by Vivienne Halleux (2nd edition, updated on 11.04.2022).

On 17 November 2021, the European Commission tabled a legislative proposal aimed at curbing deforestation and forest degradation driven by the expansion of agricultural land used to produce specific commodities, namely cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soya and wood. Following up on a 2020 European Parliament resolution, which called for regulatory action to tackle EU-driven global deforestation, the proposal would impose due diligence obligations on operators placing these commodities and some derived products on the EU market, or exporting them from the EU. Member States would be responsible for enforcement, and for setting penalties in case of non-compliance. To facilitate due diligence and control, a benchmarking system would identify countries as presenting a low, standard or high risk of producing non-compliant commodities or products. Obligations for operators and national authorities would vary according to the level of risk assigned to the country of production.

While generally supporting the proposal, stakeholders have raised some issues, regarding for instance the commodities covered, the protection of human rights, the impacts of the country benchmarking on trade relationships, and the role of third-party certification.

In the Parliament, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, responsible for the file, is expected to consider its rapporteur’s draft report in April 2022.

Versions

Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the making available on the Union market as well as export from the Union of certain commodities and products associated with deforestation and forest degradation and repealing Regulation (EU) No 995/2010
Committee responsible:Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI)COM(2021) 706
17.11.2021
Rapporteur:Christophe Hansen (EPP, Luxembourg)2021/0366(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs:Delara Burkhardt (S&D, Germany)
Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (Renew, France)
Marie Toussaint (Greens/EFA, France)
Anna Zalewska (ECR, Poland)
Kateřina Konečná (The Left, Czechia)
Ordinary legislative
procedure (COD)
(Parliament and Council on
equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: Committee vote on draft report

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