Irish Independent TD, Sean Canney, has criticised the EU for demanding national nature restoration plans whilst simultaneously negotiating trade agreements with countries engaged in deforestation. Canney has called for a law to ban the importation of products linked to deforestation, citing the EU’s own farmers being forced to plant and reinstate forestry.
Recently, MEPs voted in favour of new legislation which would only allow cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soya, and wood to be supplied to the EU if it does not come from deforested land or has led to forest degradation after December 31, 2020. The European Parliament has also approved a law that will ban all importation of beef into the EU from countries involved in any destruction of forestry. Canney has welcomed this law, stating that it would signal a commitment by the parliament and the commission to ensure that any foodstuffs imported to the EU were produced and processed to environmental regulations, at least equal to that demanded of domestic food producers and processors.
Companies found to be non-compliant with the law will be fined at least 4% of their annual turnover in the EU. However, there have been objections to the new law by the Brazilian agri-business group ABAG. Canney has responded to criticism by stating that if countries were abiding by their own codes and regulations, then there would be no need for them to be alarmed at the introduction of the new law in the parliament.
ABAG president, Luiz Carlos Correa Carvalho, has argued that the approval of the law by the parliament “does not respect” Brazil’s forestry code, which provides for legal deforestation of part of rural properties. “Depending on the region, Brazilian law allows the use of 80% of the property for agriculture, leaving the remainder as an environmental reserve. In the Amazon region, on the other hand, the forest code provides that 80% of the forest on a property is maintained,” ABAG told Reuters.
The text of the regulation must now be formally endorsed by the EU Council. Canney has called for the EU to take action against countries engaged in deforestation and to ensure that any foodstuffs imported to the EU were produced and processed to environmental regulations, at least equal to that demanded of domestic food producers and processors.
This legislation is a positive step towards preventing deforestation and promoting sustainable practices, however, it is important for the EU to continue to enforce these regulations and hold companies accountable for their actions. The destruction of forests not only contributes to climate change but also has devastating effects on local communities and biodiversity. It is crucial for countries to work together to protect our planet and ensure a sustainable future for all.