GNF - EU law against imported deforestation

Draft EU law against imported deforestation published, GNF offers support to companies


In September 2021, leaked information about the EU's planned anti-deforestation law caused a furor. Environmental organizations were alarmed when, shortly before the EU Commission's official press conference on November 17, 2021, various rumors emerged about which raw materials and ecosystems would not be included in the draft law. The press conference finally brought clarity. The law, with which the EU wants to live up to its responsibility, shows gaps, but is nevertheless an important step to stop imported deforestation and will affect numerous companies.


Leak of law stoked fears

The leaked information on the proposed anti-deforestation law raised fears of serious loopholes: Rubber, leather and corn excluded, as well as pigs and chickens and key ecosystem species. Criticism quickly arose: Why are the commodities rubber, leather and corn not included, when they were listed among the biggest contributors to global deforestation by the European Parliament in an October 2020 resolution? Why are no meats other than beef included, even though pig and chicken farming contribute indirectly to deforestation on a large scale through the use of soy feed? And why is the draft limited to forests, leaving out other ecosystems rich in species and worthy of protection, such as wetlands or forested grasslands? When, for example, the Cerrado region is the largest savanna in South America and home to some 10,000 plant species, half of which are found nowhere else in the world, yet at the same time is immensely endangered. While deforestation in the Amazon gets most of the attention, the greatest impact of EU consumption is concentrated in the Cerrado, where soybean production and cattle ranching have led to large-scale land conversion, according to an article published by Trase in advance of the highly anticipated press conference.


Press conference brings clarity, but gaps remain

Rubber and corn are indeed not included in the bill. And wetlands and savannahs are also left out when it comes to ecosystems. But there but there is also positive news: leather has now ended up in the bill after all, as have important deforestation drivers such as soy, palm oil, wood products, cocoa and coffee. "Because cattle farming in particular, especially in the catchment area of the Brazilian part of the Amazon, is a deforestation driver and on the other hand the EU is one of the largest importers of cowhide in the world, the consideration in the draft law is indispensable and therefore very welcome", explains GNF project manager Steffen Kemper.


The press conference also revealed that, contrary to fears, the law will not only address illegal deforestation, but deforestation as a whole. Concerns that small and medium-sized enterprises would be exempt from their legal obligations were also not confirmed, although they will be offered advice and possibly granted longer transition periods. Another positive aspect: After two years, there will be a review to decide whether ecosystems and raw materials that have not yet been included should be included then.


GNF project comes at the right time for companies

With its project "Deforestation Free Supply Chains - An Online Atlas for Corporate Sustainability (ELAN)", GNF is working together with the Tropical Forest Foundation OroVerde on the pulse of time. The project team is developing an online atlas that will contain concrete recommendations for action to identify and avoid deforestation in supply chains as well as an overview of relevant tools for companies. Innovative approaches and best practice examples will be presented and first steps for companies will be shown. The team wants to provide assistance to companies that have to implement binding due diligence requirements as a result of the EU law. Together with pilot companies, the online atlas is being tested in order to adapt it to the needs of small and medium-sized companies in particular.


"Currently, we are primarily concerned with analyzing the Forest Risk Commodities (FRC) and identifying the relevant risk regions. Next, we will take an in-depth look at certifications and available deforestation tools, before focusing on exchanges with and advice to companies from 2022 onwards. However, we are already open for discussions and see from the great response and topicality that we can make a valuable contribution with our work", explains ELAN project member Steffen Kemper, GNF.


GNF project manager Andrea Reuter adds: "The overall project goal is to advise and support especially small and medium-sized enterprises with our online atlas. The planned EU anti-deforestation law brings our work even more into focus. Companies have a need for information and advice and ELAN will provide just that."


Global Nature Fund (GNF)

Steffen Kemper


Kaiser-Friedrich-Str. 11

53113 Bonn, Germany

Tel.: +49 228 1848694 16



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