Coffee is one of the products covered by the new law. Photo: © Eduard Zhukov /

EU agrees deforestation law

Last December the EU agreed that companies will have to show that their products have not contributed to deforestation if they want to sell them in the EU. The new law will require companies to trace their commodities back along the supply chain to the plot of land, and prove that forest was not recently cleared, or face fines. It will apply to companies selling soy, beef, palm oil, wood, rubber, cocoa and coffee, and some derived products such as leather, chocolate and furniture. Under pressure from the European forestry sector and the Canadian government. EU governments secured a loose definition of “forest degradation” – essentially a loophole that allows continued unsustainable logging of natural forests. National governments also resisted a push by the European Parliament to include respect for international human rights legislation in the deforestation law, and the deal agreed only requires the right to free, prior and informed consent for Indigenous People to be respected if the producing country guarantees that right.

Greenpeace described the new law as “a major breakthrough”, but they were also critical: “EU governments should be ashamed of themselves for adding loopholes for their logging industries.” And added: “in the coming years, the EU must broaden its focus to protect nature as a whole, not just forests, and to stop the companies destroying nature not only from accessing the EU market but also getting loans from European banks.”

Greenpeace press release, 6 December 2022


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