EU’s new anti-deforestation laws will mean a higher demand for sustainable products

In April 2023, the European Parliament voted in favour of a landmark anti-deforestation law to ensure products sold in the EU do not originate from degraded or deforested land.

While this is an EU law and doesn’t necessarily apply to the UK, its positive impacts will trickle down to UK supply chains. As an example, it wouldn’t make sense for a paper producer to create a completely different product for UK buyers and EU buyers; it would be easier to ensure that deforestation-free products are the standard. Additionally, a very similar law is also being considered in the UK which will likely be incorporated into the Environment Act. This is another reason suppliers should be aiming for deforestation-free catalogues of products for UK customers.

What products will the EU anti-deforestation law apply to?

The new law covers many products:

  • Cattle
  • Cocoa
  • Coffee
  • Palm oil and palm oil derivatives
  • Soya
  • Wood
  • Rubber
  • Charcoal
  • Printed paper products.

The law also covers products that contain, have been fed with or have been made using these commodities, for example, leathers, chocolate, and furniture.

Products protected by anti-deforestation laws

How will it work?

By the end of 2024, imports of these products will have to comply with strict traceability obligations. These obligations will include collecting the geolocation data of product origins, and the contact details of direct suppliers and buyers. By having this information, operators will know where their products were produced and when. This will leave no room for excuses when it comes to using deforestation-free goods.

Gemma Tillack, Forest Policy Director at Rainforest Action Network said in response to the new law:

A major strength of the EU regulation is its requirement for traceability to the plantation, farm, or ranch level. The provisions that call for geo-location data for all raw materials will drive much-needed pressure to achieve traceability supply chains”.

After the vote went through, rapporteur Christophe Hansen of the Group of the European People’s Party said:

“Until today, our supermarket shelves have all too often been filled with products covered in the ashes of burned-down rainforests and irreversibly destroyed ecosystems and which had wiped out the livelihoods of indigenous people. All too often, this happened without consumers knowing about it. I am relieved that European consumers can now rest assured that they will no longer be unwittingly complicit in deforestation when they eat their bar of chocolate or enjoy a well-deserved coffee. The new law is not only key in our fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, but should also break the deadlock preventing us from deepening trade relations with countries that share our environmental values and ambitions.”

The new law and heightened accountability will help to ensure the world’s forests are a little bit safer.

What about when the new law comes into effect?

When the new anti-deforestation laws come into effect, there will no doubt be certifications to earn and procedures that companies will have to follow to evidence deforestation-free products.

At Shred Station, we are excited to see what the future of sustainable products looks like! However, with restrictions on product manufacturing and with news sites such as the BBC and The Guardian reporting on the law, some media outlets have already begun to speculate whether the new rules will cause product shortages. Head of Communications at Accrol, one of the UK’s leading toilet paper firms, however, told the Grocer:

We don’t anticipate paper supply shortages as a result of these regulations but potentially a surge in demand for… sustainably sourced stocks”.

 It sounds like there are certainly grounds to be optimistic!

How, by being a Shred Station customer, you support the production of deforestation-free products.

At Shred Station, we have a strict Zero to Landfill policy and recycle 100% of the paper we shred at some of the UK’s largest paper mills. By doing this, we ensure your old paperwork has a new purpose. You may even buy products containing your old documents as part of your weekly grocery shop! The shredded paper we send to paper mills gets made into all sorts of wonderful things. For example, feminine hygiene products, toilet rolls, tissues, newspapers and much more. By doing this, we save over a million trees from deforestation each year.

Learn more about our environmental commitments here.

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