So to make sure that products sold on the EU market are not linked to deforestation or forest degradation, the European Commission has proposed mandatory due diligence for finished products.
The Regulation sets mandatory due diligence rules for operators which place specific commodities on the EU market such as soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa and coffee and some derived products, such as leather, chocolate and furniture. Its purpose is to ensure that only deforestation-free and legal products (according to the laws of the country of origin) are allowed on the EU market if they have not been produced on land deforested or degraded after 31 December 2020.
Why is this interesting for GS1? Well at least because operators will be required to collect the geographic coordinates of the land where the commodities they place on the market were produced so that enforcement authorities in Member States have the necessary means to control what has happened. But there are other reasons of course, like the opportunity to use EPCIS to track and trace or, shortly, to propose to the EU a data architecture based on the GS1 standards.
Companies placing the relevant commodities and products on the EU market will be required to implement due diligence systems and they will be held accountable by enforcing authorities if they fail to comply with the requirements of the Regulation. Companies will need to submit a statement to a European information system confirming that they have successfully exercised due diligence and that the products they place on the market are compliant with EU rules. This statement will also provide essential information for monitoring, namely the geographical coordinates of the farm or plantation where the commodities were grown.
Member States authorities will be able to use a new digital system (‘the Register’) which will centralise relevant information on the commodities and products placed on the EU market, such as geographic coordinates and country of production, with a view to increasing the effectiveness of the policy intervention.
The open public consultation launched by the Commission for this legislative proposal gathered more than 1.2 million responses, the second most popular in the history of the EU.