Specialty green coffee traders, sourcing from 26 origins on behalf of over 1000 roasters.


Developing story – EU Deforestation Regulations
Regulations Tabs-05

Kate Monteiro, Director of Sustainability

(5 minute read)

Unsurprisingly, deforestation has been on my mind a lot recently. In April, the EU formally adopted their long-awaited anti-deforestation regulation, the EUDR. After several weeks of additional work, the regulation is now official and the 18-month clock for compliance has started. For most of us, we have until December 30, 2024 to establish our compliance.

As of today, you can include me in the camp of optimists – to a degree.

Depending on your perspective, or your role in the supply chain, you’ll either be welcoming in the regulations as generally positive, necessary and overdue, or you might be of the view that they are troubling and in their current propositions, lack a variety of clarifications. You’d be right to be sitting somewhere in the middle.

One recent notable voice of trepidation was raised from the ICE themselves, the market through which all arabica coffee is traded worldwide. Following a press release in late June in which they announced the launch of their own traceability service, they published a white paper outlining their concerns. Rightly so if you consider that ICE arabica stocks are held in bonded (pre-import) warehouses, where they can sit for years (what happens if they’ve been in the EU years before EUDR became a reality?). They concluded that “the implementation of (EUDR) will be most successful if it takes into account the specificities of trade in the individual commodity markets”, while adding the caveat that, “Otherwise, disruptions will occur which will not only cause harm to farmers at origin, EU operators and EU consumers, but that will limit the ability of the EU to impact the goal of curbing deforestation and forest degradation”.

But who takes the hit on the cost? Plainly, it cannot be farmers and producers. But the pressure these costs will apply to margins across the supply chain will almost certainly apply indirect strain to farmgate pricing.

On the other end of the spectrum, one recent post from the Initiative for Agricultural Supply Chains was sunnily titled, “Good news for forests around the world: EU deforestation regulation is coming”.

As of today, you can include me in the camp of optimists – to a degree.

This long brewing regulation has brought the conversation about deforestation’s contribution to climate change at a critical (albeit extremely overdue) time, and there is much in it that is, on the face of it, progressive and good in spirit and intention. It is designed to insist on increased collaboration between members of the value chain to safeguard some of the world’s most valuable remaining ecosystems. By knitting this aspiration into the thrust of global commerce, it has become impossible to ignore. If the old adage “what’s monitored is managed” is true, we might hope that with the imminent roll out of EUDR the decline of global deforestation will follow. What’s more is that we could be witness to the happy side effect of achieving traceability to farm level across the industry. At a time when consumer demand for information of this kind is growing, the benefits of reaching this goal at scale are huge. If traceability is the first step toward economic transparency, then this has the potential to meaningfully advance conversations on farmgate pricing. So far so good.

However, executing an approach of this kind will require first addressing several major obstacles facing value chain members at both ends, and overcoming them early, if the whole enterprise is going to achieve both its moral and practical aims in a way that reassures those feeling justifiably concerned or sceptical.

Here’s what I see as the first set of things for the EUDR to deal with from the outset.


Data protection

Legal deforestation

The threat to farmer market access

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