The European Union has agreed on a new law to prevent companies from selling into the EU market coffee, beef, soy and other commodities linked to deforestation around the world.
The law will require companies to produce a due diligence statement showing their supply chains are not contributing to the destruction of forests before they sell goods into the EU – or they could face hefty fines.
Deforestation is responsible for about 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change and will be in focus at a U.N. COP15 conference this week, where countries will seek a global deal to protect nature.
Negotiators from EU countries and the European Parliament struck the deal on the law early on Tuesday.
It will apply to soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa and coffee, and some derived products including leather, chocolate and furniture. Rubber, charcoal and some palm oil derivatives were included at the request of EU lawmakers.
Companies would need to show when and where the commodities were produced and “verifiable” information that they were not grown on land deforested after 2020.
Failure to comply could result in fines of up to 4% of a company’s turnover in an EU member state.
EU promotes sustainable construction sector with bio-based materials
According to some estimates, logging in violation of national laws accounts for 8-10% of global production and trade in forest products. It also represents 40-50% of all logging in some of the most valuable and threatened forests on earth. Consumption of tropical timber by the U.S. and other industrial countries plays a significant role in tropical deforestation.
The world’s natural forests cannot sustainably meet the soaring global demand for timber products under current forest management practices. According to the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), approximately 24.7 million acres of fast-wood plantations—or commercially planted forests— exist worldwide.
EU President Ursela von der Leyen says ‘’We all know that today building with timber could save up to 40% of carbon emissions in comparison to concrete’’. That is a huge figure. By keeping the carbon inside the wood, one day timber could turn our homes and even entire cities into carbon sinks.
The question is isn’t the EU deforestation law contradicting the sustainable construction sector with bio-based materials?