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The European Commission has committed to publish, in June 2021, a legislative proposal to minimise the risk of deforestation and forest degradation associated with products placed on the European Union market. This is a crucial step towards the EU's goal of stepping-up EU action to protect and restore the world’s forests in a sustainable and responsible way.
ClientEarth has worked together with a coalition of NGOs to develop a comprehensive briefing that outlines our shared recommendations to the European Commission for this forthcoming legislative proposal.
We consider it is essential that the European Commission proposes a regulation to establish a mandatory product-based due diligence framework that requires companies trading in forest and ecosystem-risk commodities to ensure that their products comply with strict sustainability requirements. These sustainability requirements must address human rights impacts, deforestation, forest degradation and the conversion or degradation of natural ecosystems other than forests. Equivalent due diligence obligations should be imposed on financiers to ensure that their financial services are not linked to companies contravening these sustainability requirements.
The regulation should apply to a comprehensive list of forest and ecosystem-risk commodities which should be identified according to objective and science-based criteria. The initial list should include, at a minimum, livestock products (such as beef, leather and poultry), soy, palm oil, timber, cocoa, coffee, rubber and maize, with the potential to review this list and add other commodities if they satisfy the relevant criteria.
Fundamentally, the regulation must provide that these commodities, as well as products derived from or containing them, may only be placed on the EU market when there is no more than a negligible risk that they are linked to human rights impacts, deforestation, forest degradation or the conversion or degradation of natural ecosystems other than forests.
Additional recommendations are set out in our joint briefing.