Business & Environment


October 30, 2023

The Road to EUDR: Key Dates and Milestones in the EU's Deforestation Regulation

As global efforts shift towards sustainable trade, the European Union's Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) emerges as a pioneering legislative and regulatory approach to combat deforestation and foster environmental preservation. Understanding the the EUDR's chronology is paramount for businesses striving for compliance. This post explains the EU Regulation Deforestation's timeline, offering key insights into significant milestones within this vital piece of legislation.

The conception of the EU Deforestation Regulation traces its roots back to longstanding concerns over the damaging environmental effects of deforestation. In acknowledging the importance of forests in mitigating climate change, ensuring biodiversity, and facilitating socio-economic development, the EU deemed it necessary to take ambitious steps to counter global deforestation– thus, the birth of the EUDR. This regulation represents a concrete action in line with the European Green Deal and is a cornerstone of the administrative strategy to prevent deforestation. It came into force in 2023, but not before many steps were taken to get there.

The EU Deforestation Legislation Timeline: Key Dates

Key events within the broad EU Deforestation Legislation's timeline include:

  1. June 2020 - European Commission (EC) introduces a roadmap for feedback on the initiative to tackle global deforestation. This was the first step in the creation of the initiative, which sought to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and curb biodiversity loss.
  2. December 2020 - EC launches a public consultation on stepping up EU action against deforestation and forest degradation. EU citizens - 1.2 million -  chipped in to give their opinion on the matter of dealing with deforestation, the 2nd biggest EU poll at the time. A separate study also showed that EU citizens felt climate change was the one of the biggest issues their countries were facing.
  3. October 2021 - EC publishes the draft proposal. This replaced the previous EU Timber Regulation, but added soy, cattle, palm oil, coffee, and cocoa, given that these are primary contributors to the issue alongside wood. The proposal also included critical measures like a cut-off date of December 2020, and the implementation of due diligence systems to ensure deforestation-free production, establishing the brunt of the regulation's framework, along with important details.
  4. December 2021 - EC approves the final text of the EUDR. This text of the proposed regulation was approved and submitted for adoption.
  5. December 2022 - The regulation is officially adopted. Following reviews, amendments, and negotiations by EU bodies, the EUDR was finally accepted, marking a significant step in forest conservation globally. The text was more comprehensive, encompassing not just illegal deforestation, but also legal activities that contribute to deforestation.
  6. June 2023: The regulation comes into force. It is now officially a requirement to comply with the regulation, with different dates depending on business size.
  7. Dec 2024: Compliance necessary for large businesses. They will be subject to checks, fines, and potential bans from the EU market should they fail to meet requirements by this date.
  8. June 2025: Small and medium enterprises now also officially liable.

A Timeline Visualization & Important Definitions

EUDR Timeline

Important Definitions

Due Dilligence Statement: This will be submitted to prove compliance. It should contain detailed insights into how the  business has assesed, adressed, and mitigated risk in regards to the EUDR. A significant document, should provide important details like geolocation information and transaction history in order to be approved for export/imports.

SMEs: Small & Medium Enterprises are businesses with less than 250 employees. Specifically, medium-sized businesses are defined as having less than 250 employees, and small businesses less than 50 (this means 249 and under, and 49 and under).

Large businesses: Also defined by their employee number size, these are companies with more than 250 employees.

Geolocation data: This refers to GPS coordinates tracing back commodities to their original plots of land.

Operator: This is a businesses which exports and imports into different markets.

Trader: Unlike an operator, a trader is a mover of goods that are already within a market. Small and medium traders will not be regulated. Large ones, however, will be required to perform due dilligence.

Deforestation: The conversion of a forest into a non-forest (such as a farm).

Forest degradation: The loss of a forest ecosystem's important biological qualities and processes, mainly due to logging.

Future Projections

As we move forward, the EU Deforestation Regulation's timeline will continue to evolve, as will its text; experts believe it is still subject to changes and ammendments. Therefore, companies should be on the lookout for official EU commission updates. Specifically, the EU is still drafting its official guidance on the regulation. In addition, in 2024, the inclusion of other sectors in within the regulation may be considered, and it is established that every five years from enforcement, the law will undergo a complete, overall review. This means the regulation will see significant changes, or even a complete revamp, in 2028.

In general, the year 2024 represents a crucial forecasted milestone as the European Commission is expected to produce detailed implementing and delegating acts. Beyond this date, we anticipate the commencement of the due diligence obligations enforced by the legislation, marking a new era of sustainable trade that respects environmental limits.  

Conclusion: A New Standard Set

Companies are now in a crucial stage of identifying potential solutions, like LiveEO's compliance tool. But most importantly, with deforestation posing significant threats to global biodiversity, climate stability, and sustainable development, the establishment of the EUDR marks a notable advancement in EU's environmental policy.

The unfolding timeline of the EU Deforestation Regulation clearly illustrates growing international commitment to reduce global deforestation. As industry professionals in various countries affected by it (such as Thailand, Malaysia, Ghana, Brazil, and many more), recognizing the nuances of the EUDR's timeline is crucial in navigating the complexities of this new regulation and aligning business practices with these progressive environmental standards.

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