Last Wednesday, 19 April, the European Parliament approved a new law that prohibits the importation of commodities originating from the Americas, Asia and Africa that are related to deforested and degraded areas. The main goal is to ban products that have in any way contributed to deforestation from the European market, combatting climate change and biodiversity loss.
The new law — which is expected to become effective 20 days after its official publication — is very broad when it comes to the commodities embraced by the restriction, including rubber, charcoal, printed paper products, cattle, cocoa, coffee, soya, wood, palm oil and many of its derivatives, as well as products that contain or have been made using these commodities (such as leather, chocolate and furniture).
The European Parliament adopted 31 December 2020 as a threshold date for the acceptance of products potentially related to deforestation.
In other words, to enable the exportation of new products to the European Union, the supplier will have to attest that its products do not originate from and/or are not related to deforested and/or degraded areas after 31 December 2020. According to the new law, companies should also assess if the commodities are compliant with the legislation of the country of production, including legislation on human rights and with respect to indigenous communities. Therefore, it will be necessary to conduct due diligence in the respective supply chains.
It is also important to highlight that the law’s text is still being finalized by the European Parliament, to then be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
According to official information made available*, the European Parliament will, within 18 (eighteen) months, classify the countries or regions of the Americas, Africa and Asia according to the “deforestation risk.” Depending on the country’s classification, the commodities to be exported to the European Union will be subjected to a more or less complex due diligence procedure.
In any case, the European Union will have access to the information shared by the suppliers, for example the geolocation coordinates, and will be able to compare them with data provided by satellites and DNA analysis to confirm the origin of the products and their compliance.
*[accessed on 20 April, 2023]