EU Regulation on Deforestation-free Products, Recommendations for a Forest Positive Impact
Proforest and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) have published an initial discussion paper on the EU regulation on deforestation-free products. Like many who work in the industry, they welcome the legislation and the effort made by the European Commission to minimise the EU’s impact on forests and contribute to halting global deforestation. There is an opportunity to stop the import of deforestation-risk commodities and ensure we all play a part in halting and reversing deforestation to forest positive production landscapes everywhere. However, there is a risk that the current text of the legislation doesn’t stop deforestation on the ground. It may serve to clean specific European agri-commodity supply chains, while diverting commodities associated with deforestation to other export markets. And while the regulation aims to ensure a clean supply of product to the EU market it may not stop deforestation overall, because most deforestation happens by actors before they supply into current supply chains.
IDH and Proforest’s discussion paper contains two key recommendations to encourage forest positive strategies in critical areas for deforestation, building on the leverage that European supply chains have to support and invest in protecting forest on the ground through partnerships with production base countries. The first is to recognise and classify existing partnerships at jurisdictional level that have time-bound, credible plans to move to deforestation free as ‘transitional risk’ and for European governments and mid- or downstream companies to offer support to achieve this. Secondly, it is suggested that the information collection requirements should be varied depending on the level of risk of the country or jurisdiction.