The EU has agreed to ban products linked to deforestation

Many products from deforestation will no longer be able to be imported or sold in the European Union, according to an interim agreement reached by European lawmakers on Tuesday morning.

The purpose of the agreement concluded by the representatives of the Council of Europe and the Parliament palm oil, cattle, soy, coffee, cocoa, timber, coal and rubber such as derivative products beef, furniture, chocolate, printing paper and some palm oil derivatives.

This means that companies will already have to carry and file a declaration “due diligence” Confirming that these products placed on the EU market do not contribute to deforestation and forest degradation worldwide After December 31, 2020.

According to the NGO WWF, the 27-nation bloc is the second largest importer of deforestation after China and is responsible for 16% of deforestation related to international trade.

“The new rules aim to ensure that consumers do not cause further degradation of forest ecosystems when they buy these products. Protecting the world’s environment, including forests and rainforests, is a common goal for all countries and the EU is ready to take on its responsibilities,” Marian Jurečka, Minister of the Environment of the Czech Republic, who led the negotiations on the Council, made a statement.

The agreement is being hailed as a major victory for Parliament, which added rubber, coal and a range of palm oil derivatives to the text.

Members of the European Parliament also worked is a broader definition forest degradation, which includes the conversion of primary forest or forest under natural regeneration to plantation forest or other forested land and the conversion of primary forest to planted forest.

At the same time, the European Commission has been tasked with assessing whether the scope of the legislation will be extended to other forest lands, as well as other ecosystems and goods, over the next two years.

It will also assess whether EU financial institutions should be included and banned from serving clients if there is a risk that such services could lead to deforestation.

“It was not easy, but we achieved a strong and ambitious result ahead of the COP15 biodiversity conference in Montreal,” The speaker Christoph Hansen (EPP, Luxembourg) said this in his statement.

“This important new tool will protect forests globally and cover more commodities and products such as rubber, printing paper and coal. In addition, we have ensured that rights of indigenous peoples, our first allies in the fight against deforestation are effectively protected. We have also achieved a robust definition of forest degradation that will cover a large area of ​​forest.” he added.

Green peace described the new bill as “A big step forward for forests and their opponents”.

“Make no mistake, this law will silence some sawmills and prevent companies from profiting from deforestation.” Greenpeace EU spokesman John Hyland said.

But the NGO has criticized what it sees as inclusion by EU governments “loopholes for forest industries and poor protection of the rights of indigenous peoples who pay with their blood to protect nature”.

He also lamented the possibility of companies profiting from deforestation taking loans from European banks.

WWF Anke Schulmeister-Oldenhove, chief forest policy officer at the EU policy office, also welcomed the agreement. “We made history with this first global law against deforestation.”

“As a major trading bloc, the EU will not only be a game changer for consumption within its borders, but it will also provide a strong incentive for other countries that drive deforestation to change their policies. It’s not perfect, but it has strong elements,” he also said.

But the NGO would love to see other ecosystems, such as savannahs, which are already under great pressure from agricultural conversion and provide important carbon stocks and refuges for animals. He also believes that the definition of forest degradation is not “ambitious enough”.

The legislation must now be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.

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