The Commission welcomes the provisional political agreement just reached between the European Parliament and the Council on an EU Regulation on deforestation-free supply chains.
Once adopted and applied, the new law will ensure that a set of key goods placed on the EU market will no longer contribute to deforestation and forest degradation in the EU and elsewhere in the world.
Since the EU is a major economy and consumer of these commodities, this step will help stop a significant share of global deforestation and forest degradation, in turn reducing greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss.
This major agreement comes just before the start of the milestone Conference on Biodiversity (COP15) which is set to define protection goals for nature for decades to come.
Apart from timber, the products concerned are cocoa, coffee, soy, palm oil, beef and rubber. Derived products such as leather, chocolate, furniture, paper and charcoal will also be banned if they contribute to deforestation, the European Commission said in a statement.
Products will be classified as banned if they come from land deforested after December 2020. Traders will have to start proving that the products are deforestation-free and legal. Importers must be able to provide “precise geographical information on agricultural land” to show where raw materials come from.
If the rules are not followed, member states must impose sanctions. The commission says the list of goods covered by the directive is regularly reviewed and updated. This takes into account new data, such as changing deforestation patterns.