November 29
2021
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Emilija Berzanskaite
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17th November 2021
Consumer, Health & Environment

European Green Deal: Commission proposes three initiatives to curb deforestation, facilitate waste management and protect soils 

The European Commission has adopted three new proposals to halt deforestation, innovate sustainable waste management and improve and restore soils, as part of its efforts to accomplish the European Green Deal and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 objectives.

In particular, the Commission proposes a new Regulation to curb EU-driven deforestation and forest degradation. The new rules are aimed at guaranteeing that the products bought and used by EU citizens do not contribute to global deforestation and forest degradation. The regulation sets mandatory due diligence rules for companies that want to place these commodities on the EU market with the aim to ensure that only deforestation-free and legal products are allowed. Further, the Commission will use a benchmarking system to assess countries and their level of risk of deforestation and forest degradation driven by the commodities.

The Commission also adopted the proposal for the revised Regulation on waste shipments, setting out a more efficient system for the circulation of waste as a resource and determining action against waste trafficking. Under the new rules, waste exports to non-OECD countries will be only allowed if third countries are willing to receive certain wastes and are able to manage them sustainably, while shipments to OECD countries will be monitored and can be suspended if they generate serious environmental problems in the country of destination. Additionally, all EU companies that export waste outside the EU will have to ensure that receiving facilities are subject to an independent environmental audit. Within the EU, the Commission proposed to simplify the established procedures considerably, facilitating waste to re-enter the circular economy, without lowering the necessary level of control.

Lastly, the Commission presented a new EU Soil Strategy, setting a framework with concrete measures for the protection, restoration and sustainable use of soils and proposing a number of voluntary and legally binding measures. The Strategy calls for ensuring the same level of protection to soil that exists for water, the marine environment and air in the EU. This will be done through a proposal by 2023 for a new Soil Health Law, following an impact assessment and broad consultation of stakeholders and Member States.

With its new initiatives, ​​the Commission aims to provide the tools needed to move the EU to a circular economy, protect nature and raise environmental standards in the EU and globally.

Read the Commission’s press release here.

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