EU Parliament Votes for Legislation Against Global Deforestation
The European Parliament is in favour of EU legislation on deforestation-free products. It must ensure that European citizens no longer buy, use and consume products that contribute to the worldwide destruction of forests.
According to the European Commission, global deforestation is progressing at an “alarming rate”. That is why she tabled a bill last year, which the EU climate ministers already approved in June. Negotiations between member states and parliament on a final law will begin this fall.
The EU is one of the top importers of soy, palm oil and timber from areas where forests and other valuable natural areas have often been destroyed. The same goes for coffee, cocoa and meat. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the EU is responsible for 16% of tropical deforestation due to imports of such products.
Under the proposal, European companies will be obliged to apply ‘due diligence’ rules if they want to place certain products on the market, based on a system of assessment of the risk of deforestation in the countries from which those products come. Human rights are also intertwined.
MEP Bas Eickhout (GroenLinks) is happy with the “progressive position” parliament is taking. “For years, governments worldwide have promised to stop deforestation, but little has come of it so far. That is why we as Europe must take our own responsibility and use our trading power to combat deforestation in other countries.”
Parliament also added maize and rubber to the bill, but there was insufficient support to broaden the proposed legislation to other natural areas, such as savannas and swamps. “There is, therefore, a risk that the problem will partly shift,” fears Eickhout. Parliament does want the legislation to be applied to financial institutions as well.