EU's 'groundbreaking' plan to ban food, wood imports from deforested areas

·1-min read

The European Commission has proposed a law to curb the import of food and wood imports from deforested areas as the EU pushes ahead with its sustainability goals.

The draft law would require companies to prove their global supply chains are not contributing to the destruction of forests.

Commodities such as soy, beef, palm oil, cocoa, coffee and wood – as well as some derived products such as leather and chocolate – would need to be certified "deforestation-free".

While the six commodities were selected based on an EU impact assessment, the commission said the law may be reviewed and updated regularly.

Many European companies have complex multinational operations – including in countries accused of environmental abuses – and Brussels wants all 27 European Union nations to be bound by the law.

Imports from higher-risk countries would be subject to tighter checks.

Widespread support

The move follows an international pledge at the COP26 summit – including from Brazil, China and Malaysia – to end deforestation by 2030.

"This proposal is a truly groundbreaking one," the EU commissioner for climate action policy, Virginijus Sinkevicius, told journalists.

"It targets not just illegal deforestation but also deforestation driven by agricultural expansion.”

The public consultation for the law gathered more than 1.2 million responses, the second most popular in EU history.

"To succeed in the global fight against the climate and biodiversity crises we must take the responsibility to act at home as well as abroad," EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said.

The European Commission did not say when it hoped to have the new legislation adopted.

(With wires)

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