MEPs agree on new deforestation regulation ahead of Summit


During its plenary session in Strasbourg last week (19 April), MEPs voted on and overwhelmingly passed a new law, which effectively bans the selling of products within the EU which are linked to deforestation or land conversion. This groundbreaking new law has jumped through this final parliamentary hurdle just as the key players in Non-GMO soy value chains – from Europe and Brazil – are set to come together to discuss how deforestation-free supply chains can be ensured, at the Non-GMO Summit 2023 (9-10 May).

A groundbreaking new law

The new law will mean that businesses selling products in the EU will need a due diligence statement from their supplier confirming that the product does not come from deforested land and has not led to forest degradation, including of irreplaceable primary forests, after 31st December 2020. The products it covers include: soy, cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm-oil, wood, including products that contain, have been fed with or have been made using these commodities (such as leather, chocolate & furniture), and the European Parliament added: rubber, charcoal, printed paper products and a number of palm oil derivatives.

Within 18 months of the law coming into force, the European Commission will classify countries, or regions, as low, standard or high risk. The European Parliament added that companies will also have to verify that products comply with relevant legislation of the country of production, including on human rights, and that the rights of affected indigenous people have been respected. 

A challenge for the industry 

The new law has been welcomed by environmental groups and politicians alike, as a significant step forward for both tackling climate change and protecting fragile ecosystems. But it will certainly pose challenges to the food industry when it comes to ensuring that the provenance of goods is traceable and transparent. This is where Non-GMO can be a huge benefit to suppliers and producers, with Non-GMO, sustainable standards – such as those provided by ENGA members, Donau Soja and The ProTerra Foundation - ensuring traceability through the whole value chain.

A hot topic for the Non-GMO Summit 

This will be one of the main topics for discussion during the Non-GMO Summit taking place this May, in Frankfurt, which will bring together all the major players in the Non-GMO value chain. One of the panel discussions during the Summit: “Creating benefits and synergies with sustainability standards: Non-GMO and traceable deforestation-free schemes go hand-in-hand” will feature experts from the ProTerra Foundation and Donau Soja who can speak first-hand about ensuring soy is deforestation-free. 

The full programme of the Non-GMO Summit can be found here

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