Towards deforestation-free commodities and products in the EU

Briefing 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. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.