EU Regulation: Our Chance to End Global Deforestation

Hopefully, the EUDR will inspire a global commitment similar to the Illegal Logging precedent set by FLEGT and the Lacey Act

Fri 19 May 23


Global deforestation claims an alarming 7.6 million hectares of forests each year — equivalent to losing an area the size of Greece annually.

Predominant contributors include forest-based products like soy, beef, and timber, often harvested in biodiverse tropical forest areas.

Remote, fertile regions attract entities looking to establish plantations or cattle rearing, leading to large-scale deforestation.

Indonesia and Malaysia have seen a significant loss of forest cover to oil palm plantations, while in Brazil, cattle grazing is the culprit.

Meanwhile, forests in Indonesia and Russia are sacrificed for logging and manufacturing wood-based products.

The consequences are severe — losing valuable rainforests and peatlands and displacing indigenous communities.

However, a glimmer of hope appears with the new EU deforestation regulation ratified by the EU Council over the week.

This transformative measure bans deforested products from European consumer markets.

It mandates due diligence for operators and traders dealing with commodities like palm oil, cattle, wood, coffee, cocoa, rubber, and soy and their derived products.

The goal? Trace commodities back to their origin while reducing administrative burdens.

Earlier this year, Wood Central’s Southeast Asia Contributor Ken Hickson discussed an innovative platform that Double Helix Tracking Technologies and iov42 have created to address deforestation in UK supply chains.

This project, which utilises Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), aims to manage forest-risk commodities. Notably, it is backed by Innovate UK and Enterprise Singapore.

It is designed to address Schedule 17 of the UK Environment Act, which pertains to the “Use of Forest Risk Commodities in Commercial Activity.”

Darren Thomas, Co-founder, and CEO of DoubleHelix says his company’s engagement with iov42 takes it “to a new level, harnessing Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to deliver a solution that works across multiple forest-risk commodities.”

He also invited those sourcing for, trading in, and supplying these various commodities “to join our trials and ensure their industry requirements are met.”

Blockchain technology, which is increasingly adopted by forest managers to monitor carbon capture and biodiversity, offers a transformational opportunity to close blind spots in supply chains and eradicate deforestation from global supply chains.

In recent months, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in collaboration with Deforestation Inc., has identified more than 2000 known or unknown breaches of the Illegal Logging provisions.

With the recent ratification of NZ’s new Forests Bill, and the inclusion of a ‘legal harvest assurance system’, regulations are finally catching up with the urgency to address illegal logging and deforestation.

Forestry Minister Peeni Henare reported, “Illegal timber trading accounts for 15 to 30 percent of the global timber trade. This problem is not only environmental but also undermines the economic well-being of local communities and ethical businesses.”

It’s high time we halt deforestation!


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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