Media Releases - 07 December 2022

EU deforestation law sends Australian industries a clear signal: time to better protect nature

Forest destruction in lutruwita / Tasmania.

The Wilderness Society provides the following statement after EU institutions reached a deal on a new Regulation aiming to curb worldwide deforestation by regulating imports of certain commodities.

On 6 December 2022, EU countries and Members of the European Parliament agreed to introduce a groundbreaking law to ban products linked to deforestation from entering the EU market.

Wilderness Society Corporate Campaigner Adele Chasson says: “The EU’s deforestation law is a world first, and a welcome step to help reverse biodiversity destruction. As a global standard setter, the EU sends a strong signal to industries everywhere, including in Australia, which is a global deforestation front: ‘in order to do business in Europe, you need to stop relying on industry practices that damage nature’.

“This is only the start: under growing expectations from civil society, such legislation will only expand over the coming years. These new rules are a clear message for Australian industries that depend on export markets and overseas finance: they need to take action now, and stop deforestation.”

For more information please call Wilderness Society campaigner Adele Chasson on: +61 437 796 276

Background information on new EU deforestation rules

Through this historic law, the EU is aiming to reverse biodiversity loss not only within its borders, but also beyond. Europeans widely support this law–they wanted guarantees that their everyday products were no longer linked to forest destruction on other continents.

Currently, EU companies and financial institutions are routinely involved in deforestation in countries like Brazil, Indonesia or Australia. The Wilderness Society has been engaging with EU decision makers to alert them on Europe’s connection to Australian deforestation, recently delivering a letter signed by over 13,000 people supporting the EU to act and help protect nature in Australia.

The upcoming law will apply to companies involved in the supply chain of commodities including beef, wood, packaging and paper, leather and furniture. They will have to conduct due diligence in order to demonstrate the absence of deforestation. Regular checks will be carried out, and severe fines will be faced by companies that don’t comply.

New obligations will come into force gradually over the next two years, and should keep broadening over time. It is expected the EU will extend the law in the coming years to ban the destruction of other ecosystems like grasslands and savannahs, further protect the rights of First Nations peoples, and create similar due diligence rules for banks and investors in an attempt to stop deforestation finance.