17 December 2020

Delegated act should not be used as a tool to shift away from the Member State competence on forestry. It has been a common consensus for decades that the competence on forest management belongs to Member States. The solution for better coherence of policies would be working together with the Member States and sectors involved.

In addition, delegated act should not be used to introduce new concepts to EU legislation. Indeed, as it comes to forestry, the draft delegated goes beyond the Better Regulation principle that “the delegated act cannot change the essential elements of the law”. The delegated act framework is therefore not appropriate and correct to define new, detailed sustainable forest management criteria.

CEPF is concerned that the Commission is working with too much ambition and too little time to make legislative proposals. The delegated act would have deserved more transparency and would deserve more time for impacted stakeholders to be listened to.

Forests are the first link in long value chains and networks of forest-based industries. CEPF has been promoting the RED II risk-based approach when establishing criteria for forests’ sustainability in Taxonomy Regulation. The reason is that we need a coherent approach, unattached from the end-use of wood when it comes to sustainability. 

Forest owners do not separate sustainable forest management planning and activities towards different end-uses. The different levels of ambition in criteria for different purposes could change the demand in wood markets and thus have an impact in forest owners’ management practices.

CEPF would like to express strong concerns about how the process for this delegated act has been carried out. The lack of sectoral involvement can be seen in the complex criteria, complexity which will exclude most of the 16 million private forest owners to contributing to the climate change mitigation and adaptation via taxonomy system. Luckily some lessons were learnt from this first process and the Commission has invited stakeholders to work on the second batch of criteria via platform on sustainable finance.

Uncertainty in definitions makes the evaluation of the delegated act difficult. In the forest related chapters, the delegated act refers to “improved forest management”, “close-to-nature forestry”, “stakeholder consultation for forest management plan” and “afforestation plan”. There is no forest owner who would agree to this without prior knowledge on the definition of these concepts.

The delegated act proposes an extremely detailed forest management plan to be submitted and audited. This is not acceptable as the management planning choices belong to forest owners. In addition, such planning is regulated in different ways at national level and can’t be required in a harmonized way at EU level. This delegated act seems to shrink forest owners to reporting units who serve the cause of the financing sector.

We have not seen an impact assessment for this delegated act from the sector´s point of view. Since the Sustainable Finance Action Plan was published, we have been asking at several occasion how this will directly and concretely help or impact forest owners to contribute to climate actions. Unfortunately, no answer was provided to this question. We don’t know either who will be reporting on the complex forest related criteria. This is a weak point of the delegated act – it is lacking reality of the actions on the field.