What’s going on here?
These are the words of Pascal Canfin, of the European Parliament (environment committee) which has recently passed a law banning the importation of goods that are linked to deforestation. This approach aims to prevent products entering the European market which are produced at the expense of natural forests and habitats.
What does this mean?
The new rules will require companies which produce everyday goods such as soy and beef to provide a “due diligence” statement and “verifiable” data which proves that their products were not grown on land that was deforested after 2020. The laws extend to a range of products including the widely consumed product, palm-oil, as well as commodities such as leather and furniture. Once the law is formally approved companies will have 18 or 24 months to comply, depending on their size (smaller ones have a longer adjustment period). Companies that do not comply in time could face fines of up to 4% of their turnover in the EU member state they are operating in.
Why should we care?
Deforestation and forest degradation is estimated to be responsible for 15% of the impact of global greenhouse gas emissions, with an area the size of the EU having been lost to deforestation between 1990 and 2020. It also impacts natural water cycles, increases soil erosion and leads to habit loss; these all have compounding effects on the climate crisis. As a consumer it can be challenging to identify products which are contributing directly to deforestation. The new legislation aims to stop EU consumers from being “unwittingly complicit in deforestation.”
- Until the law comes into force in Europe, look for FSC products when buying wood or furniture products.
- Read more about deforestation impacts here.
- Read more about common products which have been linked to deforestation here.
- Explore Global Canopy which tracks supply chain deforestation in the biggest companies and banks worldwide. See how your company is performing.
Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash