The EU agrees on a law banning the import of goods linked to deforestation

The European Union on Tuesday agreed new law to bar companies from selling coffee, beef, soy and other commodities linked to global deforestation in the EU market.

The law requires companies to provide a due diligence statement showing their supply chains are not contributing to forest destruction before selling goods to the EU – otherwise they could face hefty fines.

“I hope that this innovative regulation will give impetus to the protection of forests around the world and inspire other countries at COP15,” said European Parliament negotiator Christophe Hansen.

Deforestation is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change and will be the focus of a UN COP15 conference this week as countries seek a global deal to protect nature.

Negotiators from EU countries and the European Parliament reached an agreement on the law early Tuesday.

It applies to soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa and coffee as well as some derived products such as leather, chocolate and furniture. Rubber, charcoal and some palm oil derivatives have been included at the request of EU legislators.

Companies would have to prove when and where the raw materials were produced and “verifiable” information that they were not grown on land deforested after 2020.

Failure to comply can result in fines of up to 4% of a company’s turnover in an EU Member State.

Countries that will be affected by the new rules, including Brazil, Indonesia and Colombia, say they are onerous and costly. Delivery certification is also difficult to monitor, especially since some chains can span multiple countries.

While activists hailed the law as “historic,” they also criticized that companies must show they respect the rights of tribal peoples — but only if those rights are already protected by law in the producing country.

“The EU has missed an opportunity to send a signal to the world that the most important solution to stopping deforestation is to protect indigenous peoples’ rights,” said Nicole Polsterer of campaign group Fern.

The EU countries and the European Parliament must now formally approve the law. The law can come into force 20 days later, after which large companies have 18 months to comply and smaller companies 24 months.

EU member states will be required to carry out compliance assessments covering 9% of companies exporting from high deforestation risk countries, 3% from standard risk countries and 1% from low risk countries.

The EU said it would work with affected countries to build their capacity to implement the rules.

Reuters The EU agrees on a law banning the import of goods linked to deforestation

Fry Electronics Team

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