16 November, 2022

European Parliament pass bill to ban imports of deforestation-linked commodities

Written by: Nathan Eaton, Managing Director, NGIS

In September this year, a significant bill was passed in the European Parliament to ban imports of raw materials that have been linked to deforestation. This deforestation initiative is part of the European Green Deal which sets out a legal pathway for Europe to achieve carbon neutrality and to transform the EU into a competitive and resource-efficient economy.

The scope of this initiative covers a number of commodities including cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soy and wood. The new legislation would attempt to guarantee that consumers only buy products that do not contribute to forest degradation or global deforestation. The legislation would only prohibit the use of raw materials that have been produced on land deforested after 31 December 2019. The key to this initiative is the proposed regulation to establish more transparent and rigorous due diligence regarding the compliance of raw material sourcing. EU consumption accounts for approximately 10% of global deforestation with Palm oil and Soy accounting for the majority of this impact, followed by wood, cocoa and coffee.

Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans said: “To succeed in the global fight against the climate and biodiversity crises we must take the responsibility to act at home as well as abroad. Our deforestation regulation answers citizens' calls to minimise the European contribution to deforestation and promote sustainable consumption.”

The significance of this bill is that the burden of proof will shift to consumer packaged goods companies to actually verify that the raw materials they source from suppliers are in fact deforestation free and not just from certified sources. This due diligence will be implemented through legislation and will require the use of satellite monitoring, field surveys and supplier engagement to generate the first mile traceability that will be required by the EU. EU authorities will require access to geographic coordinates of sourcing footprints and anonymized data will be made available to the public. The intention is not to ban specific commodities or countries from the EU market but rather to increase the level of data and due diligence used to evaluate deforestation risk.

The introduction of legislation enforcing verified deforestation free supply chains and increased systems of due diligence by suppliers and consumer packaged good companies will result in an enormous step forward in reducing global deforestation. This step change will also require the use of innovative and scalable digital solutions to deliver the required compliance for global supply chains. Digital solutions will be required to deliver the first mile traceability that will be legally required by the EU and solutions that deliver transparency in raw material sourcing in supply chains that are still inherently opaque. Whilst the burden of proof will be on the consumer packaged goods company to deliver the required traceability and monitoring, the hope is that the legal implementation will lead to increased collaboration and data sharing across industry, between suppliers of raw materials and the companies who produce products with these materials.

NGIS and Google have been partnering to engage with progressive companies to deliver solutions that provide the capabilities that will in the future be legally required by the EU for deforestation free supply chains. Capabilities including:

·        Supply Chain Mapping and First Mile Verification

·        Global Monitoring of deforestation including early warning alerts indicators

·        Supplier engagement and data sharing ecosystem

This capability is packaged through the TraceMark solution and is built on global leading Google Cloud Geospatial technology to deliver access to enormous data archives and analysis at scale that will be required to deliver supply chain due diligence. 

The TraceMark solution is built on global leading Google Cloud Geospatial technology and delivers access to the enormous data archives and analysis at scale that will be required to deliver supply chain due diligence.

A Geospatial, first mile approach to sustainability will be at the heart of this initiative as well as many other climate change innovations. The use of Geospatial technology enables the integration of enormous data archives based on location, integration that wouldn’t be possible with other techniques. Google has been at the forefront of Geospatial innovation with Google Earth and Google Maps democratising digital mapping. Google is now delivering game changing innovations in how geospatial data can be analysed for impact at a global scale using key technologies such as Google Earth Engine.

About NGIS: NGIS is an impact focused Google Premier partner specialising in Geospatial, climate and sustainability solutions.

About TraceMark: TraceMark is a sustainable sourcing platform that delivers global deforestation monitoring along with implementing traceability and transparency for the sourcing of raw materials.

To find out more about TraceMark click here. 


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