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 (3rd edition, updated on 08.09.2022).

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.

In the Parliament, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, responsible for the file, adopted its report on 12 July 2022. The report seeks to raise the level of ambition of the Commission proposal, notably by extending its scope, strengthening the protection of human rights, in particular those of indigenous people and local communities, and increasing checks and penalties. The text awaits a vote in plenary during the September session. If adopted, it will form Parliament’s position for negotiations with the Council, which adopted its general approach on 28 June 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: Plenary vote on committee report
timeline-10 steps-voted in plenary
Individual share of EU-embodied deforestation due to selected commodities between 2008 and 2017

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