The EU will no longer allow products that are linked to the destruction of forests onto the EU market.
This historic agreement was reached yesterday (05 Dec), when EU decision-makers concluded negotiations for an EU deforestation law.
A world-first law
This regulation is the first in the world to tackle global deforestation and will significantly reduce the EU’s footprint on nature.
The EU is one of the world’s largest importers of tropical deforestation and associated emissions, second only to China.
‘We have made history with this world-first law against deforestation. As a major trading bloc, the EU will not only change the
rules of the game for consumption within its borders, but will also create a big incentive for other countries fuelling deforestation to change their policies. The law is not perfect but it includes strong elements.’
Senior forest policy officer at WWF European Policy Office
The EU and deforestation
In 2017, the EU was responsible for 16% of deforestation associated with international trade, totalling 203,000 hectares and 116 million tonnes of CO₂. The EU was surpassed by China (24%) but outranked India (9%), the United States (7%) and Japan (5%).
Between 2005-2017, soy, palm oil and beef were the commodities with the largest embedded tropical deforestation imported into the EU, followed by wood products, cocoa and coffee.
In addition, EU consumption is driving the conversion of other natural ecosystems, including the Brazilian savannah of the Cerrado.
The outcome is a significant win of WWF’s global #Together4Forests campaign, which has brought together more than 210 NGOs to fight for a strong EU law against deforestation over the last two years.
‘This deal shows that 1.2 million citizens, 217 NGOs across the world, scientists, indigenous leaders and progressive companies that have actively supported the #Together4Forests campaign have been listened to at last. Deforestation will no longer end up on the supermarket shelves and dinner plates in the EU – this is a massive win for our campaign. Civil society has shown its power once more!’
LIESBETH VAN DEN BOSSCHE
EU Campaign Manager at the WWF European Policy Office
How the deforestation law will work
One of the most unique aspects of this law is that new rules will go beyond legality: in order to enter the EU market, products must not only be legal according to the producing country’s standards, but also free of deforestation and forest degradation.
Negotiators have also agreed to keep the level of ambition in the Commission’s proposal by covering a wide range of products, including soy, palm oil, beef, coffee, crucial timber products such as printed products and rubber.