By promoting the consumption of ‘deforestation-free’ products and reducing the EU’s impact on global deforestation and forest degradation, the new Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 on deforestation-free products is expected to bring down greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss.
The Regulation 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 29 June 2023, the Regulation on deforestation-free products entered into force. The main driver of these processes is the expansion of agricultural land that is linked to the production of commodities like cattle, wood, cocoa, soy, palm oil, coffee, rubber, and some of their derived products, such as leather, chocolate, tyres, or furniture. As a major economy and consumer of these commodities linked to deforestation and forest degradation, the EU is partly responsible for this problem and it wants to lead the way to solving it.
Under the Regulation, any operator or trader who places these commodities on the EU market, or exports from it, must be able to prove that the products do not originate from recently deforested land or have contributed to forest degradation.
The Regulation on deforestation-free products repeals the EU Timber Regulation. As of 29 June 2023, 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
The EU is continuing to work with partner countries and companies to ensure a successful transition to deforestation-free supply chains. The implementation of the Regulation is facilitated by the following implementation tools:
- Designated Member States’ Competent Authorities (The list will be updated when the Commission is notified of new designations)
- Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests
- Continuous dialogue between EU Member States, selected interested parties (mainly trade and business associations and NGOs), third countries and the European Commission
- The platform meets frequently to present and discuss the main strands of work and identify best practices
- Agendas, presentations and summary records of the meetings of the Platform (In the Register, go to the “Meetings” tab)
- Member Organisations of the Platform
- EU observatory on deforestation and forest degradation
- Team Europe Initiative on Deforestation-free Value Chains
Further information can be found in the comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions.
- Briefing notes on sourcing of deforestation-free commodities
- Factsheet on the Commission proposal for a Regulation
- EU Deforestation Regulation: an opportunity for smallholders
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
A Fitness Check of the EUTR and the FLEGT Regulation was performed in 2021 to evaluate their implementation and functioning, and assess if they were fit for purpose to halt illegal logging and associated trade.