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EU Parliament: We’ve no choice but to crank up our efforts to prevent global deforestation

The plenary adopted its position on the EU Commission proposal for a regulation on deforestation-free products with 453 votes to 57 and 123 abstentions.

The MEPs supported proposals to fortify the provisions on supply chain homework aswell.

While no country or commodity will undoubtedly be banned, companies placing products on the EU market will be obliged to exercise homework to judge risks within their supply chain. MEPs suggest that firms may use satellite monitoring tools, field audits, capacity building of suppliers or isotope testing to check on where products result from.

EU authorities could have usage of relevant information, such as for example geographic coordinates. Anonymised data will be available to the general public. Predicated on a transparent assessment, the Commission would need to classify countries, or part thereof, into low, standard, or risky within half a year of the regulation getting into force. Products from low-risk countries will undoubtedly be at the mercy of fewer obligations.

Michael Rice, lawyer for not-for-profit organization, ClientEarth, reacting to the Parliaments position, said it has senta solid signal that those funding nature destruction are equally responsible and really should also be on the hook should they dont do their homework.

That organization was disappointed, however, that the MEPs didn’t extend protections to natural ecosystems apart from forests, such as for example savannahs, wetlands and peatlands: ecosystems which are under equal pressure from agricultural expansion. Instead, they will have opted to defer the problem to an assessment 12 months following the law’s commencement.

Cut-off date

The EU Commissions original proposal covers cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soy, and wood, including products which contain, have already been fed with, or have already been made using these commodities such as for example leather, chocolate, and furniture. Parliament really wants to likewise incorporate pig meat, sheep and goats, poultry, maize, and rubber, in addition to charcoal and printed paper products.

Furthermore, the MEPs insisted that products should never have already been produced on land deforested after December 31, 2019 – twelve months sooner than what the Commission proposed.

In addition they want companies to verify that goods are stated in accordance with human rights provisions in international law and respect the rights of indigenous people.

Dr Julian Oram, senior director at Mighty Earth, said the united states environmental campaigners welcomed those particular moves by the MEPs.“Adding natural rubber to the set of forest-risk commodities can be another significant step, as is putting additional measures on banks, finance institutions, and investors to make sure that their activities usually do not donate to deforestation.

Industry reaction

Nathalie Lecocq, director general of EU vegetable oil and protein meal industry association, FEDIOL, told us: “We support the introduction of mandatory homework, but we regret that the results of the vote in the EP falls lacking the ambition toeffectivelytackle global deforestationin an inclusive manner.”

That trade group along withEU grain and compound feed representative bodies, COCERAL and FEFAC, released a joint statement on the EP’s stance.

They think that the approach taken by the Parliament will disincentivize action against deforestation globally, but particularly in high-risk areas, because of the dependence on traceability to plot, that they argue happens to be not simple for many smallholders and risks causing their exclusion from supply chains.

The united states benchmarking system will lead companies to source from high-risk areas within their risk avoidance strategy, the groups said.

Having less alternatives to traceability to plot for soy and palm products in conjunction with a few of the trade disruptive measures adopted by the MEPs will likely affect the option of these commodities in the EU, warned the bodies.

In addition they ask the Commission, the Parliament, and Council institutions to utilize supply chain actors to recognize answers to minimise all of the foreseen negative impacts.

Obtaining the balance right

Following the vote, rapporteur Christophe Hansen (EPP, LU) commented:

We have been seriously interested in fighting climate change and biodiversity loss. Acknowledging that the EU is in charge of around 10% of global deforestation, we’ve no choice but to crank up our efforts to prevent global deforestation.

“If we obtain the balance right between ambition, applicability and WTO compatibility, this new tool gets the potential to pave the best way to deforestation-free supply chains.

Next steps

A delegation of MEPs will now take the EP’s position to negotiations with the EU member states.

In June, the Council of the EU, representing member states, published its agreed approach to the Commissions proposed law.

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