Brussels, April 19 - The European Parliament 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 products 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 assessing the need for a new law within the next two years that could oblige financial institutions to prevent the financing of deforestation, whether direct or indirect.  

Giulia Bondi, senior EU forests campaigner at Global Witness, said “This landmark law is a much-needed a ray of hope for the world’s forests. However, it needs the final piece of the puzzle - the European Commission must now urgently deliver a new law that would stop banks from funding deforestation.” 

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.

Member states are set to vote to formally adopt the law on Thursday May 4, after which the regulation will be translated and uploaded on the Official Journal of the EU, and will enter into force 20 days thereafter.