Tackling deforestation is a priority for Co-op, and an essential part of meeting our climate targets.
Co-op has a long legacy of taking action against deforestation and has existing commitments for forest commodities used in our products. Our climate plan also sets out action on land use change. This year we’ve made an explicit commitment to no deforestation in any primary deforestation-linked commodities by the end of 2025.
This means by the end of 2025 any key forest commodities we are using across the Co-op Group must be verified as deforestation-free.
New EU deforestation regulation (Regulation (EU) 2023/1115)
In June 2023 the European Commission introduced new legislation to combat deforestation. It will ban certain products (cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, rubber, soya, wood) from being placed on the EU market if they don’t comply with the requirements of this law. Further details about affected products can be found in Annex 1 to the Regulations.
Affected businesses, which include suppliers of the products in scope and retailers, will have to carry out due diligence checks and risk assessments for products they wish to introduce into the EU.
Co-op is directly impacted by exporting products in scope to Northern Ireland, which continues to abide by EU law. Our suppliers’ impact will be through the supply chain for any product in scope.
The legislation sets out that:
Products in scope of the Regulations will not be allowed in and out of the EU market if they were produced on deforested land after 31 December 2020.
Each batch (shipment) of affected products introduced into the EU will need to undergo checks to ensure that they are compliant and specific product information will need to be collated and recorded.
Information about each batch/shipment will need to be logged onto a new EU database. This is known as the ‘Due Diligence Statement’ for those specific goods. Suppliers may need to enter it into the database – this database does not currently exist so you are unable to review or sign up for it.
Suppliers and retailers will have until the end of December 2024 to be compliant with the requirement of this new law. To ensure we're compliant by this deadline you should start to collate required information as soon as possible.
A copy of the new Regulation can be found here
FAQ guidance has also been provided by the EU Commission here
What will you need to do? 1. Determine which of the products you supply, or have been supplied to you, are in scope of the new law (for scope refer to Annex 1 of the Regulations)
2. Ensure future products supplied (in scope) have not been produced on land that has been deforested after 31 December 2020.
3. Ensure that the necessary information required as part of the due diligence statement can be collated and recorded.
4. Be ready to produce Due Diligence statements on supply of those commodities by the end of December 2024 if required.
Deforestation is a key issue for Co-op. Meeting the regulations is an essential legal requirement and it will be a first step to drive progress towards deforestation-free sourcing at an industry level. Legal requirements alone may not be enough to meet the scale of change required.
Compliance with legislation will be a minimum requirement, however Co-op will continue to strengthen its sourcing standards of forest-risk commodities in line with best practice. We’ll provide further information about any changes, where relevant, in due course.
The full extent of the knowledge of the new Regulation is contained in the links provided. If you require any further guidance on the interpretation of this law then we recommend you seek independent legal advice or reach out to your industry bodies as soon as possible.
We’ll shortly reach out to Co-op Own Label suppliers directly.
In the meantime, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any Co-op Own Label enquiries.