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European Roasters Call for Delay in EU Deforestation Rules (EUDR)

deforestation EUDR

Deforestation in Ecuador” by A.Davey is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A consortium of large European green coffee purchasing and roasting companies is asking EU lawmakers to delay implementation of Europe’s new anti-deforestation law.

The 23-year-old nonprofit group International Coffee Partners (ICP) issued the public call today, saying that the legislation “could promote poverty and counteract sustainability” if smallholder coffee farmers are excluded from the EU market due to their general lack of capacity to comply.

The new law, commonly referred to as EUDR, was finalized in late 2022, with implementation among large EU companies scheduled to take effect on December 30 of this year. The law applies to specific agricultural products that have historically been associated with deforestation, including coffee, and requires deforestation risk benchmarking, mandatory checks based on risk level, new supply chain due diligence obligations and more. EU companies found violating the law could face fines or lack of access to government funds.

In a press release today, the ICP said its member companies “generally support the objectives” of the legislation, but warned that it might have unintended consequences affecting the world’s millions of smallholder coffee farmers and other upstream actors who may not be able to provide adequate data for compliance.

The group has asked legislators to enact a “transition phase” as opposed to applying the law at this year’s end.

roasted coffee

Founded during the coffee price crisis of the early 2000s, the sustainability-minded nonprofit ICP membership includes seven family-owned large roasting companies: Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (Germany); Lavazza (Italy); Löfbergs (Sweden); Tchibo (Germany); Delta Cafés (Portugal); Franck (Croatia); and Joh. Johannson (Norway).

The group’s call to EU legislators echoes several of the key points outlined in a call made in February by the European Coffee Federation, a trade organization with some membership overlap with ICP.

“The EUDR verification process must be simple enough and accessible for smallholder coffee farmers to comply with,” the ICP stated today. “Still, they will need time, technical capacity, and knowledge to adjust to the new requirements.”

Calls to delay enforcement of EUDR are being made with increased frequency among organizations large and small throughout supply chains in the soy, beef, palm oil, timber, cocoa, coffee and rubber industries. A group of agricultural ministers from the EU has also urged delays in enforcement. Bloomberg News this week offered a compelling review of implementation work being done in the coffee industry, channeling the perspectives of financial institutions, producer associations and farmers.

Meanwhile, environmental organizations are urging EU legislators to move forward with enforcement, arguing that the toll deforestation is taking on local ecosystems and the planet requires immediate action.

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