The European Parliament has adopted a law that allows products to be sold in the EU only if the supplier can prove that “the product does not come from deforested land or has led to forest degradation.”
The new legislation, passed with 552 votes in favour, 44 against and 43 abstentions on Wednesday, applies to the goods of cattle, charcoal, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, rubber, soya and wood.
It also includes items that were made of, contain, or have been fed with the above-mentioned products, such as leather, chocolate, furniture and printed paper products.
Suppliers will have to provide a “due diligence” statement proving that the product doesn’t contribute to deforestation.
By the request of the European Parliament, companies will also have to testify that the goods were produced in line with the country’s own legislation.
In addition to concerns about deforestation, requirements to export goods into the EU include respect for human rights and the protection of indigenous people.
Over 420 million hectares lost
The European Commission will set the criteria for the “due diligence” certification based on a classification of low-standard and high-risk deforestation in the countries of origin.
Companies that falsify the certification or fail to comply with EU rules can face a penalty of up to four percent of their annual turnover.
EU member states have yet to formally adopt the legislation.
According to the UN, over 420 million hectares of forest were cut to be used in agriculture between 1990 and 2020.
The EU’s consumption is responsible for around 10 percent of global deforestation.