Commission Initiative to Achieve the European Green Deal
On 17 November 2021, the Commission adopted three new initiatives in order to achieve the European Green Deal. With these initiatives, the Commission aims to curb EU-driven deforestation, facilitate intra-EU waste shipments, promote a circular economy, and tackle the export of illegal waste and waste challenges to third countries. The three initiatives are the following:
- Proposal for a regulation on deforestation-free products: With these new rules, the Commission would like to guarantee that the products that EU citizens buy, use, and consume on the EU market do not contribute to global deforestation and forest degradation. For its part, the Commission aims to reduce EU-driven greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. The objective of minimising the EU’s contribution to deforestation and forest degradation will be achieved by establishing a tiered, mandatory due diligence system, relying on a definition of “deforestation-free,” combined with a benchmarking system. The proposal also requires products to have been produced in compliance with the deforestation-free definition and with the laws of the manufacturing country.
- Proposal for a new regulation on waste shipments: With this regulation, the Commission aims to protect the environment and human health against the adverse impacts that may result from the shipment of waste. Therefore, the provisions should facilitate the environmentally sound management of waste and reduce the overall impact of using resources, especially by improving resource use efficiency. The proposed measures are crucial for the transition to a circular economy.
- EU soil strategy for 2030: The Strategy sets a framework of concrete measures for the protection, restoration, and sustainable use of soils and proposes a set of voluntary and legally binding measures. By 2050, all EU soil ecosystems should be in a healthy condition and thus more resilient, which will require very decisive changes in this decade. Therefore, the Strategy proposes legally binding objectives in the context of the Nature Restoration Law, to limit drainage of wetlands and organic soils and to restore managed and drained peatlands. The Commission will assess the need for and potential of legally binding provisions for a “passport for excavated soil”, in order to reflect the quantity and quality of the excavated soil and ensure that it is transported, treated, and reused safely elsewhere. The Commission urges Member States to set by 2023 their own ambitious national, regional, and local targets in order to reduce net land take by 2030. To promote sustainable soil management, the Commission will prepare a set of “sustainable soil management” practices.