Towards deforestation-free commodities and products in the EU

Briefing 11-04-2023

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. The Council adopted its general approach on 28 June 2022 and the Parliament adopted its position on 13 September 2022. The co-legislators reached a provisional agreement on 6 December 2022, which substantially amends the original Commission proposal, notably in terms of scope. The agreed text was endorsed by Coreper on 21 December 2022, and by Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety on 16 January 2023. It now awaits formal adoption by the Council and the Parliament. The vote in plenary is scheduled during the April 2023 session. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.