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Pioneering EU Regulation on deforestation-free supply chains enters into force

The pioneering EU Regulation on deforestation-free supply chains, a key building block in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, has entered into force. It is a reflection of European citizens’ wish no longer to drive global deforestation through their consumption. Once applied, the new law will ensure that a set of key goods exported or placed on the EU market must be deforestation-free and thus will no longer contribute to deforestation and forest degradation in the EU and elsewhere in the world.

Companies will have to confirm that the product has been produced on land that has not been subject to deforestation or forest degradation, including of primary forests, after 31 December 2020. While no country or commodity will be banned, all relevant companies will have to conduct strict due diligence if they export or place on the EU market palm oil, cattle, soy, coffee, cocoa, timber and rubber as well as derived products such as beef, furniture, or chocolate listed in the Annex to the Regulation upon the entry into application of the new rules in 18 months. The list of commodities that are covered will be regularly reviewed and updated, taking into account new data such as changing deforestation patterns.

Companies will also have to verify that these products comply with the relevant legislation of the country of production, including on human rights, and that the rights of affected indigenous peoples have been respected.

“With the landmark law on deforestation, the EU is taking its share of responsibility for global deforestation and forest degradation,” said Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. “This law responds to the internationally shared objective to end deforestation and will benefit people around the globe. Forests serve vital needs and provide work and jobs for millions of people. This law will not only help protect the world’s forests, it will also boost the demand for deforestation-free products. All countries will be able to continue selling their commodities in the EU, provided they can prove they are deforestation-free. We will work with our international partners to help make this regulation a success.”

Since the EU is a major economy and consumer of the covered commodities and products, this step – in addition to measures taken in many producer countries – will help stop a significant share of global deforestation and forest degradation, in turn reducing greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. The new rules also help secure the livelihoods of millions of people, including indigenous peoples and local communities across the world, who rely heavily on forest ecosystems.

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