Brussels, May 16 - EU Member States today formally endorsed a landmark anti-deforestation law, which puts the European Union on a pathway to reduce its consumption of forest-risk commodities.

The law will prevent the import and sale of a comprehensive list of products if they are found to be linked to deforestation and forest degradation, including coffee, timber, palm oil, cattle, soy, rubber and cocoa and their derived products.

It also commits the European Commission to proposing a new law within the next two years that could oblige financial institutions to conduct due diligence to prevent investments in projects that cause deforestation.  

Giulia Bondi, senior EU forests campaigner at Global Witness, said: “Today's adoption of the law is a landmark moment in the fight against global deforestation - despite the worrying abstention of some Member States. To end the EU’s complicity in deforestation for good, we now need to cut off the money pipeline funding it – the European Commission must now deliver on its promise to deliver obligations to stop financiers bankrolling the destruction of the world's forests."

European financing of deforestation remains a serious threat to the world’s forests.

Last month, a Global Witness investigation revealed that some EU-based financial institutions have increased their investments in companies linked to what has been described as “the world’s worst deforestation crisis” in Paraguay.

Previously, Global Witness showed how EU-based financial institutions struck €30.6 billion worth of deals with 20 agribusiness companies accused of deforestation between 2016-2020.

The regulation will now be translated and published in the official journal of the European Union and will enter into force across the bloc 20 days thereafter.