Law on imported deforestation

Coffee growing & sourcing

Law on imported deforestation

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Choosing traceable, quality and sustainable coffees: close-up on the imported deforestation regulation

In late 2022, Europe adopted a regulation banning imports of products derived from deforestation.


The regulation targets various key products such as beef, soya and palm oil, in addition to coffee and cocoa!

It is the result of long years of discussions with all stakeholders: producer and consumer countries, exporting and/or user companies, environmental associations, scientists, etc. One such association is the Alliance for the Preservation of Forests, a group of companies committed to promotion of sustainable and traceable raw materials of which Belco is a member. This has kept us at the heart of the discussions and here we explain all.


In 2022, the Alliance for the Preservation of Forests kept us informed of changes to the text.

This type of regulation passes through many phases of discussion within the European bodies. First, the European Commission publishes a proposal based on many months of work, which the Council of Europe and the European Parliament review, supplementing or diminishing it with their own work and reflections. Finally, the three institutions engage in a trialogue to align the final text that will frame the regulation.

To keep abreast of developments, we joined the Alliance for the Preservation of Forests in 2022, a group of private companies committed to the fight against deforestation. It gives us an ear and voice among the political institutions of France and Europe. Their expertise keeps us abreast of changes in the text to be better prepared in our business and ensure that decision-makers hear our ambitious collective proposals. 


So, what is it all about?

The purpose of the text is to prevent imports of agricultural products from deforested soils into the EU after the cut-off date of 31 December 2020. The aim being to stop the deforestation dynamic.

Products concerned include coffee, cocoa, beef, soya, palm oil, wood and rubber.

The aim is not, of course, to simply ban these raw materials on European soil! But producers will have to prove their products comply with certain sustainability and traceability conditions and requirements before they can enter Europe.


What will Europe do exactly?

From the end of 2024, Europe will request:

  • A list of the full names of all producers involved in preparing the container;
  • A list of all GPS points (farms smaller than 4 ha) or GPS plots of farm boundaries (farms larger than 4 ha).

In short: optimum traceability! The goal is to be able to check the state of forest cover of these plots precisely by satellite, then compare them with their state prior to the cut-off date.

These lists must be included among the documents required for container clearance.

If a document is missing, the container will not clear customs and consumers will not have access to the goods.


What are the risks?

This law will affect all importers of the above-mentioned products, whether large or small. Smaller entities will benefit initially from a one-year run-in period.

Once the text enters into force, producers will risk:

  • Not being able to clear customs and sell their imported products;
  • Fines for non-compliance of up to 4% of the company’s annual turnover.


Will this law affect me directly?

This law will affect mainly importers of these materials. The first to import products into Europe will be responsible for gathering all the necessary documents.

In terms of the coffee and cocoa delivered by Belco, we will have completed all the necessary work upstream and you will receive your coffee as normal!


What will this mean for Belco coffees?

We began our strong commitments to traceability, transparency and the fight against deforestation long before the decision to create a law. It’s true that this will complicate the traceability work of a large majority of manufacturers, but Belco is happy to see Europe raise its requirements in favour of a more precise and genuine traceability of the products we consume.

We do our best to bring you high-quality coffee and cocoa meeting the most stringent and transparent traceability standards. We can only be thrilled that such practices will become the norm, to better preserve our forests. Our transition department works daily alongside our agronomists, sourcers and quality managers in plantations to promote agroforestry farming and the importance of forest cover, not only for the impact it has on cupping but also, and above all, to preserve the environment, reduce consequences on biodiversity and soils and increase the well-being of producers.


We are convinced we made the right choice over ten years ago, and this law confirms that our vision of a more sustainable and traceable coffee industry is the only way forward. 



To find out more, read the interview with Laure d’Astorg, General Secretary of the Alliance for the Preservation of Forests, in Le Filtre:

You can also join this movement of companies committed to sustainable, traceable and ecosystem-friendly raw materials directly on their website.

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