The Council and the member states expressed concern over the efficacy of current policies aimed at combating deforestation at the global level and urged the EU Commission to take immediate action to implement its proposals for the conservation of forest ecosystems.
“To reduce the EU's consumption footprint on land, the Council and the member states request that the Commission fast-track an assessment of new demand-side regulatory and non-regulatory measures and produces proposals to this end.”
A partnership approach was recommended for cooperation with producing countries.
For all new, relevant EU trade agreements, they also recommend the proposal of specific provisions on sustainable forest management and sustainable and deforestation-free agricultural commodities.
Reacting, FEDIOL, a trade group for the EU vegetable oil and protein meal industry, said the Council conclusions “provide a clear mandate for the Commission … to come up with a clear proposal, and also to establish a solution-oriented multi-stakeholder platform involving governments, private sector, civil society and other relevant stakeholders.”
The trade representatives said there was a need to harmonize and enhance EU action to ensure sustainable value chains.
FEDIOL also welcomed what it termed the EU Council’s recognition of the experiences of private sector initiatives in achieving such goals.
“In this sense, our sector has been extensively engaged over the last years in initiatives aimed at removing products at risk of causing deforestation from its supply chains. Our companies have made sourcing commitments in an effort to contribute to mainstream market transformation for responsibly produced oilseeds and derived products, both from imported and home-grown origin.”
Meanwhile, FEFAC released data today showing that its members use of soy meeting the criteria laid down in the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines totaled between nine and 10 million tons in 2018, a jump from the estimated six to seven million tons taken up in 2017.
The soy in question is provided through supplier and member schemes and programs that FEFAC and its members consider to be aligned with the 59 criteria in those guidelines, covering good agricultural practice, environmental and social requirements.
To date, 19 schemes have passed the benchmarking process, facilitated by the ITC, against the FEFAC guidelines.