EU Commission adopts legal proposal to combat deforestation, following EU Parliament's legislative report pushing for mandatory due diligence & civil liability
On 22 October 2020, the European Parliament adopted a legislative report with 377 votes to 75 and 243 abstentions calling on the EU Commission to present a EU legal framework to halt and reverse EU-driven global deforestation. The report (as well as the corresponding EU Parliament resolution) pushes for mandatory due diligence and civil liability for corporations that place commodities or products entailing forest and ecosystem risks on the EU market. It emphasises that the same mandatory due diligence rules should apply to all financial institutions active in the EU that are providing funds to such companies.
In December 2020, over one million people responded to the European Commission's public consultation on deforestation. Civil society organisations representing Indigenous groups, and human rights and environmental defenders, welcomed the Commission's commitment to develop an anti-deforestation law, but expressed worries at the proposal's delays.
On 17 November 2021, the European Commission adopted the proposal, which includes due diligence obligations on all companies and traders, and enforcement and compliance mechanisms, amongst other provisions.
Despite this, campaigners are calling for the draft law to be strengthened with more ambitious regulatory measures, such as including the protection for international human rights and Indigenous Peoples, civil liability, and mandating rules for the financial sector.