In Europe, forests cover more than 37.7% of the land area. Far more than mere wooded expanses, forests play a crucial role in the preservation of life on Earth.

Forests offer numerous environmental, economic, and social benefits, providing essential services to humanity. They are home to the majority of our planet's terrestrial biodiversity, contribute to protecting the climate system, produce clean air, and play a key role in water and soil purification, as well as in water retention and groundwater recharge. Forests provide livelihoods and income for about one-third of the global population.

Forest management has come under the spotlight in recent years, due to environmental concerns such as deforestation and forest degradation, which are significant factors in global warming and biodiversity loss. These phenomena are progressing at an alarming rate. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 420 million hectares of forests have disappeared worldwide between 1990 and 2020 (which represents about 10% of the world's remaining forests, an area larger than the European Union).

The Regulation on Deforestation-free products (EUDR), which came into effect on June 30, 2023, prohibits the placement on the European market of products that have contributed to deforestation or forest degradation after December 31, 2020. This new regulation will apply to all member states on December 30, 2024.

What exactly is EUDR ?

EUDR applies to all operators placing specific products on the EU market that come from deforestation and forest degradation, whether they are importers, distributors, or manufacturers.

Two conditions are subject to this regulation:

  • The production must comply with the legislation of the country of production (respect for human rights, and environmental, tax, and social legislations);

  • The materials and products supplied have not contributed to forest degradation or deforestation after December 31, 2020.

The commodities concerned include wood, coffee, cocoa, beef, rubber, palm oil, soy, as well as derived products such as leather, chocolate, furniture, printed paper...

Thus, any operator placing wood on the market must perform due diligence to ensure that the wood they are marketing has been legally harvested. This means that they must set up systems and procedures to assess and prove throughout their supply chain that all their materials and products are legal.

One of the positive impacts of this regulation is the promotion of sustainable forest management globally.

A solution approach? The FSC® label

The Forest Stewardship Council® is a non-profit organization that offers a proven solution for sustainable forest management, i.e., management that is ecologically appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable, meeting the needs of current and future generations.

FSC is compatible and even goes further by ensuring checks throughout supply chains, including outside the EU, or by setting robust rules for the protection of biodiversity, soils, or watercourses or peatlands.

FSC certification is a strong and effective tool to help companies meet the due diligence requirements of the EUDR, in both the risk assessment and mitigation phases. Legally, FSC helps to harmonize rules during controls carried out on supply chains. The rights of indigenous peoples are respected. A free, informed, and prior consent is established. Also, FSC helps to identify and reduce risks in the context of due diligence. FSC is currently working to evolve its risk assessment approach to also cover the requirements of the EUDR. Finally, it is an essential tool for recognizing the work done by forest operators.

We offer FSC certification, thanks to the accreditation carried by our subsidiary Ecocert Swiss AG (FSC® A000515). FSC certification allows companies and consumers to make informed choices about the forest products they buy, thus creating positive change by engaging the power of market dynamics towards responsible supply chains.

FSC is therefore one of the answers for valuing your commitment in the wood and forest sector!

Discover the many guarantees provided by FSC certification.

At the Crossroads of Forests: Legislation and Solutions for More Sustainable Forests
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