About the EU Communication on Stepping Up Action to Protect & Restore the World’s Forests

  

 

In July 2019, the European Commission adopted an EU Communication on Stepping up EU action to protect and restore the world’s forests, setting out five priorities:

  • Reduce the footprint of EU consumption on land and encourage the consumption of products from deforestation-free supply chains in the EU;
  • Work in partnership with producer countries to reduce pressures on forests and to "deforest-proof" EU development cooperation;
  • Strengthen international cooperation to halt deforestation and forest degradation, and encourage forest restoration;
  • Redirect finance to support more sustainable land-use practices;
  • Support the availability and quality of information on forests and commodity supply chains, the access to that information, and support research and innovation

This communication initiated the process for EU deforestation regulation, aimed at addressing the first priority, to “reduce the footprint of EU consumption on land and encourage the consumption of products from deforestation-free supply chains in the EU”. In November 2021, the Commission published a proposal for a regulation on deforestation-free products, the implementation of which will have a significant impact on the trade of key agricultural commodities associated with deforestation, including beef, cocoa, coffee, palm oil and soy. At this stage the proposed regulation includes elements requiring due diligence as well as other, non-due diligence elements . Efforts on Forest Partnerships, International Cooperation, Finance and Information/Traceability are still under development.

TFA’s Approach

TFA promotes knowledge sharing and enables the development of shared perspectives and collective engagement with EU policy makers. TFA’s approach centres on five areas:

Build Knowledge

Deepen understanding of the EU Regulatory proposal on deforestation-linked imports and accompanying regulation on Producer Partnerships.

Mainstream Awareness

Increase awareness of the upcoming Regulation with a broad multistakeholder community.

Engage Policy Makers

Create space for dialogue with key policy makers.

Create Technical Assets

Develop concrete technical input on producer partnerships, transparency pathways and due diligence guidance for the industry.

Link Demand-Side Polices

Keep community abreast of parallel policy developments in other key demand-side markets such as the US, the UK and China to identify and promote points of potential alignment.

The TFA also provides input directly to EU policies via participation in the Commission Expert Group/Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests, including the EU Timber Regulation and the FLEGT Regulation, established by the EU.

The TFA EU Working Group

The platform for learning, exchange, and collective action is the multistakeholder TFA EU Working Group, which meets monthly and includes representatives from over 35 businesses, civil society and other industry organisations.

The EU Working Group was established following a programme of engagement TFA carried out between January and July 2020 to discuss the priorities outlined in the EU’s communication. This engagement included a total of 10 roundtable meetings, with over 120 participants from industry, civil society and the public sector.

The EU Working Group follows and discusses in detail the EU policy process, sharing views and connecting periodically with the broader community to build support and awareness.

Activities have included:

  • Exchange on the latest draft proposals released by the European Commission

  • Learning sessions with European policy experts about the regulatory proposal process

  • Dialogue with regional experts about their work promoting sustainable commodity production and trade from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Colombia, Brazil and Indonesia and the potential of the European Regulation to influence this work

Publications, Positions and Communications

Roundtable Discussions on the EU Communication on Stepping Up Action to Protect & Restore the World’s Forests   

22 July 2020

Over 120 stakeholders from industry, civil society and the public sector shared perspectives, experiences, and input across a range of commodities and sectors to inform the development of evolving EU policies on deforestation and to share these with the European Commission.

Collective Position Paper on EU Action Protect and Restore the World’s Forests: Proposal for a ‘Smart Mix’ of Measures

December 2020

A group of more than 50 organisations, including some of the world’s largest retailers, brands, traders and producers of forest-risk commodities, along with industry associations and international civil society organizations, jointly endorsed a position paper calling on the EU to adopt a smart mix of measures to address imported deforestation.

Letter to European Commissioners

2 July 2021

This letter, signed by over 25 organisations, was sent to European Commissioners in Directorate-Generals for Environment, International Partnerships, Justice, and Trade to reinforce key elements of the ‘Smart Mix’ to include in the final proposal.

Letter to European Commissioners

29 October 2021

This letter was sent to Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, European Commission for the European Green Deal and Commissioner Virjinijus Sinkevičius, European Commission for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, immediately prior to the final Regulatory proposal from the European Commission being announced in November 2021. It reminds of the need for strong partnerships between the EU and producer countries to put in place the enabling conditions necessary to protect forests and improve the standards of production of agricultural commodities.

This response was received from Commissioner Sinkevičius on 10 January 2022.

EU Deep Dive Sessions 

TFA is hosting a series of technical Deep Dives related to the upcoming EU Deforestation Regulation. The objective of the series will be to shed light on key areas of the Regulation and raise participants’ awareness of the full scope of implications, available tools, and examples that may help in its implementation. There will be a total of 4 sessions in the second semester of 2022, facilitated by Proforest. They will focus on several commodities under the scope of the Regulation and will bring together various experts from different sectors to exchange on the following topics:

  • Geolocation & traceability

    • Cocoa and Palm Oil (July). Pre-reads of Cocoa here and Palm Oil here. A session summary is available here 

    • Soy and Beef (September). Pre-reads of Soy here ,Beef here and Timber here. A session summary is available here. 

  • Country Benchmarking and mainstreaming Landscape and Jurisdictional approaches (October). Pre-reads on Opportunities here and Risks here. A session summary is available here. 

  • Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities’ rights and livelihoods (November). Pre-reads on IPLC Overview here and IPLC Implications here. 

For every session, a panel and open discussions will be organised. This series has been put in place to support the work of the TFA EU Working Group, but participation is open to non-members who may be interested.

 

Additional Perspectives and Resources

Many organisations are actively contributing to discussions stemming from the EU Communication on Stepping up EU action to protect and restore the world’s forests. Here are some of their perspectives:

Get Involved

Join the TFA EU Working Group to build your knowledge and exchange with a diverse group of stakeholders on EU processes addressing deforestation in global supply chains. By joining the Working Group you will be kept up to date and invited to participate across the different components of TFA’s approach outlined above. Please contact tfa@weforum.org.