Coffee, palm oil, wood or food products may no longer be imported from areas where there is deforestation. According to a European Commission bill, traders should check whether the creation of products has led to deforestation. If that cannot be ruled out, it should not be imported.
The regulation should curb deforestation and degradation of forests caused by EU countries. According to the committee, 420 million hectares of forest were lost worldwide in the period from 1990 to 2020, an area larger than the European Union as a whole.
The proposed new rules should ensure that the products that EU citizens buy do not contribute to global deforestation. These are products such as soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa and coffee. Companies wishing to bring these raw materials to the EU market should only do so if the products are “deforestation free”.
A raw material that is missing from the bill is rubber. The law must be approved by the EU governments and the European Parliament. The Financial Times reports that MEPs have already said that rubber can be added at a later time during the negotiations on the proposal.
End of deforestation 2030
Companies must demonstrate that the products they sell on the European market are not related to deforestation after 31 December 2020. Those who do not provide accurate information to national authorities via satellite images, for example, may receive fines of up to 4% of annual turnover, reports the Financial Times.
By stimulating the consumption of ‘deforestation free’ products in the EU, greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of biodiversity must decrease. In addition, the approach to deforestation and forest degradation must have beneficial consequences for the local population, including indigenous peoples, who rely heavily on forest ecosystems, the committee said.
The bill, which must be approved by EU governments and the European Parliament, comes shortly after the UN COP26 climate summit, in which world leaders promised to end global deforestation by 2030.