In the fight against international deforestation, we, the German agricultural sector, have long been committed to the effective establishment of sustainable supply chains. We therefore generally support the EU’s principle, as introduced in 2023 with the “Regulation on deforestation-free supply chains” (EUDR).
The EUDR entered into force in June 2023. It aims to ensure that goods placed on the EU market do not contribute to deforestation, covering goods such as palm oil, beef, soy, coffee, cocoa, timber and rubber, and any products made from them.
On the demand side, the EUDR is a milestone in fighting deforestation, but it overshoots the mark. The European Commission is acting unilaterally by trying to impose its own values and policies on other countries. This raises issues of transnational social justice and power differentials, and highlights the changing dynamics of market power in global structures. The EUDR also cast a shadow on the EU’s reputation as a trustworthy partner on the international scene and its relations with key producer countries.
As the EU's market influence is dwindling, it becomes increasingly important to position the EU as a reliable partner. Demand-side measures, such as the EUDR, need to be combined with supply-side measures to avoid leakage effects. The success of the EUDR will therefore depend on careful and efficient implementation, ideally accompanied by meaningful consultation and close cooperation with producer countries.
Time is running out before the 30 December 2024 deadline for implementation. Many issues need to be resolved before then. We need clear rules for the transition period, and a secure and practical legal framework for the transfer of a lot of sensitive data.
In this Trend Letter, we try to categorize the challenges from the perspective of practitioners and experts. We urge policymakers to move as quickly as possible on the practical implementation of the Regulation in order to successfully combat deforestation. As an agricultural sector, we stand ready to offer constructive, practical solutions.
We urge policymakers to move as quickly as possible on the practical implementation of the Regulation in order to successfully combat deforestation.
Read the 10th issue of the Trend letter Agribusiness.