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The EU just approved a new groundbreaking law protecting forests worldwide. As of next year, companies importing into the European Union will finally be held accountable by having to make sure their products are deforestation-free. Keep reading to understand what the law means, and its impact going forward.

What Are the Details Here?

The EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) holds the following commodities to higher ecological standards: 

  • Soy
  • Palm oil
  • Cattle
  • Coffee
  • Cocoa
  • Wood
  • Rubber

Any businesses dealing with these products are going to have to make sure they didn’t get them from suppliers that caused deforestation

Satellite data analytics company LiveEO, which offers deforestation detection, provided an infographic breaking down the new law.

Infographic
Source: Live EO

Beginning at the end of 2024, large companies that deal with these commodities and import them into the European Union are going to have to prove that their products did not contribute to deforestation. So for example, if a hypothetical chocolate company gets their cocoa from a Latin American farm known for clearing forests to make space for their agriculture, their product could not just get a temporary ban, but they will get fined a substantial amount of their revenue. They would also lose access to EU benefits and, overall, be dealt a heavy blow to their reputation. 

Not only that but if companies don’t even get caught – if they even just fail to prove that they didn’t contribute to deforestation – they’ll face the same consequences. 

Insane, right?

But… isn’t it also about time? 

Someone has to start protecting the interests of our ecosystems. And of course, there are some systems in place, but this one? It will have an enormous effect. How will huge businesses prove that their entire supply chain is deforestation-free? It’s a massive undertaking, and the magnitude of the law isn’t to be understated. The thing is, these products now being regulated are a huge part of our everyday lives. Wood? This article was typed on it. Soy? Coffee was taken with it this morning. Palm oil? It’s not just in Nutella – it’s used in lipstick too! 

The list goes on, but these commodities are everywhere.

How Will Companies Comply?

There are different methods to prove compliance, but the official law recommends the use of satellite images. Since our Earth is surrounded by satellites that can image it every day, it’s possible for companies to just take pictures of their suppliers’ land and see if deforestation has occurred. And the cool thing is, these satellites have been taking pictures for decades, so there’s a lot of old data available too. 

But that’s not the only thing business will have to do. Though the main thing is providing GPS coordinates and dated imagery of their products’ sources, they also need to show that they’re making an effort to keep their supply chains safe from deforestation by making their investigations and making due diligence statements.

But What if I live Outside the EU?

That’s a great point. Though Europeans will eventually be able to make guilt-free purchases once the law comes into effect, products in other countries may still come from companies with environmentally unethical practices. So do you still have to worry about avoiding “non-green” products at the grocery store?

The short answer is yes – for now – but you should also be happy that the European Union is setting such a great example. The reason it took so long was because, well, governments were too scared to mess with a system that worked. As mentioned, the new EU deforestation regulation is a massive task, and it will undoubtedly have consequences on supply chains. But… they had to start somewhere. Once the EU’s new, transparent system is flowing well for all to see, other countries will be able to follow suit. Sometimes, you need to just do something – get it over with – to achieve what you want. And the best way to figure out a solution to something is to just implement one and work from there.

Earth’s forests will now enjoy the effects of a more closely watched supply chain. Deforestation occurs on a massive scale every year, which contributes to rising emissions. Thankfully, we’re getting closer to not having to worry about things like loss of biodiversity and increasing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere with initiatives like the EUDR.

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The above post is paid by Live EO.