What is the EUDR and why is it being introduced?
While the EUDR is a European legislation, its implications are global. Companies placing or exporting the affected products in or from the EU market will have to conduct due diligence to confirm that the products have not been sourced from land which was deforested or degraded after 31 December 2020. Companies will also have to verify that these products are compliant with relevant legislation of the country of production, including respect for human rights, and the rights of affected Indigenous Peoples.
Which products does the EUDR apply to?
The EU Commission considers the main driver of deforestation and forest degradation is the expansion of agricultural land, which is linked to the production of commodities imported into the EU such as soy, beef, palm oil, wood, rubber, cocoa, and coffee.
Within each commodity, the regulation defines which products are included within the scope of the law, according to a list of EU customs codes. The list (found in an Annex to the regulation) also includes some derived products such as leather, chocolate, and furniture.
What does this mean for businesses in Africa?
The regulation will mostly be relevant to companies with principal market for their timber or wood products being the European Union. It means:
- Companies with EU operations will have obligations as operators and/or traders.
- Companies with customers in the EU will need to supply data to help them comply with the EUDR.
How is FSC addressing EUDR?
The Forest Stewardship Council and the European Union share a unified vision to protect our forests. As the most credible global sustainable forestry solution, FSC’s trusted certifications already deliver on numerous requirements of the EUDR, and in many ways exceed its scope and ambitions.
FSC continues to strengthen its system so actors throughout the supply chain can meet all aspects of EUDR and other relevant forestry legislation in Europe and across the world. FSC is leading systemic change and developing new technologies to help companies meet EUDR requirements.
From June 2024, the FSC EUDR Aligned will provide a set of integrated tools that companies at any point in the value chain can use to meet EUDR legality, sustainability, and due diligence obligations. Targeted support will help companies adopt these tools ahead of December 2024 enforcement.
It is important to note that, while schemes can help meet due diligence requirements, being certified does not automatically exempt companies from their EUDR duties. All relevant actors must play their part in the fight against deforestation.
For more information, please visit the FSC International website
Robust certification can help companies meet EUDR requirements. As one of the most robust sustainable forestry solutions, FSC is strongly aligned with the EUDR legality and sustainability requirements and can help companies assess and minimise the risk that relevant forest-based products come from a land which was deforested or degraded.
Thanks to involvement in the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) – which was used to build the EUDR – FSC has acquired over 10 years of experience with the concept of due diligence and has supported companies and EU Competent Authorities in fighting illegal logging and deforestation across Europe and globally.
How will FSC help companies demonstrate respect of relevant environmental and social legislation?
FSC’s strict standards for forest management prevent deforestation and degradation, which is the main focus of EUDR.
From its inception FSC has embedded strong social requirements protecting workers’ rights, local communities, and Indigenous Peoples’ rights. In particular, the FSC Principles and Criteria require the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples on management decisions. All FSC-certified forest owners and managers are also required to identify and uphold Indigenous Peoples’ rights of land ownership, use of land, and access to resources the land may provide. FSC certification can therefore be a key tool in addressing the EUDR requirement for companies to assess and mitigate risks in relation to rights of Indigenous Peoples in a country of production.
FSC certification is a robust and effective tool to help companies meet the EUDR due diligence requirements, both at the risk assessment and risk mitigation phases.
FSC has led the way in developing and maintaining comprehensive risk assessments (including mitigation measures) for more than 60 countries including aspects of legality, social and environmental sustainability, deforestation, and genetically modified trees. FSC will develop its next generation of risk assessments which will cover EUDR requirements. To do this, FSC will partner with other organizations working on the risk assessment for wood commodities while doing this work.
FSC is harnessing new technologies which will help support the EUDR geolocation and traceability requirements.
Many FSC-certified forest managers are already providing geo-spatial data on FSC-certified forest areas. FSC is working on introducing relevant rules and technology to support collection of geospatial data of all FSC-certified forests.
At FSC, we use both data from satellite imagery and geographic information system (GIS) maps to measure the impact of organizations’ conservation practices. We created the FSC GIS Portal, a geospatial web app to inform auditors worldwide in near real time about logging or other activities in areas of interest in and around certified forests. The geospatial data can then be combined with satellite imagery and be used to better identify risks when auditing against FSC standards. Learn more here.
FSC chain of custody certification assures that wood and non-timber forest product originating from sustainably managed FSC certified forests can be properly identified throughout the supply chain. FSC is developing a new system called FSC Blockchain to transmit product origin data along the supply chain.
We’re leveraging the power of blockchain technology to revolutionize material traceability and trade compliance in high-risk supply chains. Blockchain is a digital technology that registers transactions into a digital ledger that cannot be changed (a concept known as immutability). Combined with data encryption, this allows auditors and regulators checking the activities of downstream operators to verify and audit upstream transactions, whilst still protecting business confidentiality. FSC’s Blockchain should be ready for field tests in late 2023 and will be rolled out to interested supply chains starting in 2024. Learn more here.
FSC International will be holding a series of webinars in 2024 to learn more about changes being introduced.
Webinar on FSC Regulatory Module, systemic changes and FSC Risk Assessments
- Tuesday, 13 February 2024: 8:00 UK time (Register here)
- Monday, 19 February 2024: 15:00 UK time (Register here)
Webinar on FSC Regulatory Module and systemic changes
- Wednesday, 14 February 2024: 8:00 UK time (Register here)
- Wednesday, 14 February 2024: 15:00 UK time (Register here)
Webinar on FSC Risk Assessments
- Tuesday, 20 February 2024, 8:00 UK time (Register here)
- Tuesday, 20 February 2024, 15:00 UK time (Register here)
Click here for more information
Watch: The EUDR and FSC webinar March 2023
‘Forest of the Future’ podcast episodes on EUDR:
- Episode 57: Setting the scene – Why requirements on geo location? (Getting granular on EUDR, episode 1 of 3)
- Episode 58: How might we use existing technologies to comply? (Getting granular on EUDR, episode 2 of 3)
- Episode 59: The global perspective on EUDR (Getting granular on EUDR, episode 3 of 3)
Do you have any questions?
Send your questions and queries to our dedicated mailbox: EUDR@fsc.org