• Announcement
22. July 2020

In the run-up to the German EU Council Presidency, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) invited to a series of weekly virtual discussion fora on EU-measures for deforestation-free supply chains, which started on 3 June 2020 at 4pm CET.

The European Union imports about one third of all deforestation embodied in internationally traded agricultural commodities such as soy, palm oil and cocoa. Following-up on its Communication on Stepping up EU-Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests – as requested by the Council Conclusions from December 2019 – the European Commission is currently assessing various regulatory and non-regulatory measures to minimise the risk of deforestation and forest degradation associated with commodity imports to the EU. Various policy options are on the table, each comes along with various benefits and challenges. In each of our weekly sessions, we will discuss a different aspect of potential regulatory EU measures for around 45 minutes.

The facilitators Eva Majewski, Senior Policy Officer at BMZ, and Maike Moellers, Deputy Head of GIZ Programme Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains and Standards, invite you to make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, lean back and listen to the arguments of leading experts representing various stakeholder groups. After a short exchange with the expert guest you are invited to share your insights and ask questions.

Below, you will find more information on each session and the recording of the final discussion of the virtual fora.

The final discussion of the virtual fora on 22/07/2020

How to make DD work for deforestation-free supply chains?

Due diligence is one of the policy options considered by the EU Commission in its impact assessment of regulatory and non-regulatory EU measures to minimise the risk of deforestation and forest degradation associated with commodity imports in the EU. With the EU Timber Regulation and the French Loi de Vigilance, two approaches on due diligence already address the business practices of European companies regarding forests. The opening session will aim to unpack the concept of due diligence. 

Dr. Claire Bright (Associate Research Fellow in Business and Human Rights, British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Assistant Professor in Private Law, Faculty of Law, Nova University in Lisbon & Co-Author of “Study on due diligence requirements through the supply chain” by DG Just)

Perspectives by the European Parliament on Deforestation-Free Supply Chains

The European Parliament’s Committee on “Environment, Public Health and Food Safety” currently prepares both a legislative initiative report and an own-initiative report following-up on the EU Communication Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests – with the committees on “Development”, “International Trade”, “Industry, Research and Energy” and “Agriculture and Rural Development” giving opinions. German Members of the European Parliament representing various committees involved will debate potential EU measures to reduce deforestation in commodity imports. 

Hildegard Bentele (Member of the European Parliament)
Delara Burkhardt (Member of the European Parliament)
Anna Cavazzini (Member of the European Parliament)

How could standard systems fit in EU-measures for deforestation-free supply chains?

As one of the measures to reduce the EU consumption footprint on land, the EU Communication names to “encourage the strengthening of standards and certification schemes that help to identify and promote deforestation-free commodities”. At the same time, sustainability standards are an important tool for many companies to implement their zero-deforestation commitments. This session will debate what role standard systems could play in EU measures on deforestation-free supply chains. 

David D’Hollander (Associate Manager, Policy and Innovations, ISEAL)

The EUTR: What can we learn from it?

The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) prohibits to place any illegally harvested timber on the European market. Besides, it obliges operators placing timber on the European market to exercise due diligence. The European Commission and the member states responsible for the implementation of the EUTR, which entered into force in 2013, have collected a lot of experience with the EUTR that could be transferred to potential regulatory measures on deforestation-free supply chains. This session will debate lessons learned from the EUTR. 

Clotilde Henriot (Senior Law and Policy Advisor, Climate & Forests Programme, Client Earth)
Thomas Huber, Senior Policy Officer, German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)

Presentation of the German Federal Government’s Guidelines  on the Promotion of Deforestation-Free Supply Chains of Agricultural Commodities

In April 2020, the German government adopted the “German Federal Government’s Guidelines on the Promotion of Deforestation-Free Supply Chains of Agricultural Commodities” in response to the EU communication “Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests”. The guidelines are an important milestone in Germany’s long history of support for forest protection and outline several measures to foster deforestation-free supply chains on national and international level. 

Dr. Thomas Baldauf, Senior Policy Officer, German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)

What can we learn from the EU regulation on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU)?

The EU Regulation to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU fishing, which entered into force in 2010, aims to exclude IUU fish from the European market. It establishes a catch certification scheme allowing only marine fishery products to enter the European market, validated as legal by the competent flag state. It also enables the EU Commission to enter into dialogue with non-EU countries which are not effectively combating IUU fishing in order to warn them or even ban their products from the European market through a carding system. The EU Agriculture and Fisheries council’s conclusions on the communication on deforestation from December 2020 recognize existing experiences from the EU regulation on IUU which might be useful for EU measures for deforestation-free supply chains. In this session, we will debate with Georg Werner from the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) what we could learn from fish for forests.

How could product and organisational environmental footprints be integrated into potential measures on deforestation-free supply chains?

The European Commission has proposed the Product Environmental Footprint and Organisation Environmental Footprint methods as a common way of measuring environmental performance, based on a life cycle approach. These methods could for example be used to track deforestation risks caused by supply chains of agricultural commodities in a product-based approach. On July 15th, we will examine what potential benefits the Environmental Footprint method could bring in a potential EU regulation to reduce deforestation in commodity imports.

Dr. Marisa Vieira (Principal Consultant on Environmental Footprint, PRé Sustainability)

Final discussion

In the final session, BMZ together with the EU Commission will review key arguments of the previous sessions to discuss potential regulatory EU measures as well as promising combinations with non-regulatory measures that might result in a smart mix.

Heidi Hautala (Vice-President of the European Parliament, MEP, Greens/EFA)
Hugo-Maria Schally (Head of Unit F3 Multilateral Environmental Cooperation, DG Environment, EU Commission)
Sebastian Lesch (Head of Division 121 International Agricultural Policy, Agriculture, Innovation, BMZ)

The final discussion is available on this website.