17 June 2024

Following its adoption and entry into force, the EU Deforestation Regulation’s (EUDR) implementation shall start on 30 December 2024 (or six months later for small and micro undertakings). As wood products are covered by the scope of the regulation, forest owners will be confronted with its new and burdensome requirements.

Recap on the EUDR’s objectives

The main aim of the EUDR is to minimise the impact of EU consumption on global deforestation and forest degradation. To achieve this target, so-called due diligence obligations shall ensure that products analysed as key drivers of deforestation on a global scale (cocoa, coffee, palm oil, rubber, soy, cattle and wood) are only placed on the EU market or exported from it if they have been produced legally and without inducing deforestation or forest degradation.

While forest owners support the general objective of the EUDR, the new due diligence requirements turned out to be impossible to implement due to delayed preparation of framework conditions and numerous practical uncertainties.

Delayed institutional preparations and remaining unclarities

After its entry into force, the Commission started preparing framework conditions (including the benchmarking of countries’ deforestation risk and the digital EUDR Information System) and practical clarifications on the parts of the EUDR that remained open to interpretation. Unfortunately, in most cases these deliverables are delayed and, in the cases in which they were provided, they are overly strict and impractical.

Strong concerns raised by stakeholders and within the institutions themselves

Due to the multitude of persisting implementation barriers, CEPF, together with other organisations from the forest sector, requested in a joint statement of 25 March 2024 the postponement of the EUDR along with practical solutions.

Also from the institutional side, strong requests for postponement and simplifications have been voiced by numerous MEPs from the Committee for agriculture and by an overwhelming majority of ministers for agriculture.

Next steps

Despite the strong concerns voiced by stakeholders and agri-side institutional actors, the Commission still holds onto the start of implementation of the EUDR as foreseen in the legal text and indicates that  the delay won’t prevent the entry into force on 30 December 2024.

European Forest Owners expect their  concerns raised to be addressed and their call for postponement to be heard. Otherwise, the EUDR risks missing its aim to minimise global deforestation and instead turns out as a disproportionate bureaucratic burden that hinders forest owners and other operators to sustainably manage their forests.