By promoting the consumption of ‘deforestation-free’ products and reducing the EU’s impact on global deforestation and forest degradation, the new rules are expected to bring down greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss.
The proposal is part of a broader plan of actions to tackle deforestation and forest degradation first outlined in the 2019 Commission Communication on Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests. This commitment was later confirmed by the European Green Deal, the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Farm to Fork Strategy.
On 17 November 2021, the Commission proposed a Regulation to curb EU-driven deforestation and forest degradation. The main driver of these processes is the expansion of agricultural land that is linked to the production of commodities such as palm oil, cattle, soy, coffee, cocoa, timber and rubber. As a major economy and consumer of these commodities linked to deforestation and forest degradation, the EU is partly responsible for this problem.
A political agreement was reached on a joint proposal in December 2022. It will will repeal the EU Timber Regulation. Once the Regulation is in force, operators and traders will have 18 months to implement the new rules. Micro and small enterprises will enjoy a longer adaptation period, as well as other specific provisions.
The new rules aim to
- avoid that the listed products Europeans buy, use and consume contribute to deforestation and forest degradation in the EU and globally
- reduce carbon emissions caused by EU consumption and production of the relevant commodities by at least 32 million metric tonnes a year
- address all deforestation driven by agricultural expansion to produce the commodities in the scope of the regulation, as well as forest degradation
Impact Assessment ‘Minimising the risk of deforestation and forest degradation associated with products placed on the EU market’:
- Executive Summary of the Staff Working Document on the Impact Assessment
- Staff Working Document on the Impact Assessment (Part 1 and Part 2)
- Public consultation on “Deforestation and forest degradation – reducing the impact of products placed on the EU market”
- Synopsis report of stakeholder consultation as part of the impact assessment on demand-side measures to address deforestation
- Consultancy Report on Impact assessment on demand-side measures to address deforestation
Fitness Check on the EU Timber Regulation and the FLEGT Regulation