Mixed response to European Parliament's inclusion of rubber in deforestation law
23 Sep 2022
ETRMA renews call for “more effective approach to traceability”…
London – The European Parliament's decision last week to include natural rubber in the EU’s proposed deforestation law has generated mixed reactions.
In a 13 Sept vote, the Parliament approved measures to increase the scope of the initial proposal by the European Commission to include natural rubber in the list of restricted import commodities.
The regulatory proposal had originally covered six commodities: coffee, cocoa, palm oil, soya, beef and wood.
In response to the decision, the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) said the proposed regulation was ‘too broad and far-reaching without having the appropriate tools.’
“ETRMA has always expressed the need for a more effective approach to traceability and hopes that the co-legislators will better tailor the requirements to each commodity,” said the association in a 21 Sept statement to ERJ.
This, stressed ETRMA secretary general Fazilet Cinaralp, will ensure that the regulation will be effective, feasible and implementable.
The industry, she went on to say, is already carrying out key activities on the ground through the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR), which is aligning the activities of governments, manufacturers, smallholders and NGOs.
On the other hand, campaigners were "celebrating an important win in the European Parliament," said environmental group Mighty Earth in a 15 Sept statement.
“Sustained and effective lobbying means natural rubber is now on the list,” the NGO adding that the European Commission’s initial proposal had “notable gaps and weaknesses”, including an “overly narrow definition of forests.”
The draft, said Mighty Earth, had “a strikingly unambitious level of coverage” with regards to the types of products that would be covered under the law.
The Commission had concluded that the deforestation footprint of NR was not worth the potential impact on the value of imports to Europe, as it would require "a very large effort, with little return in terms of curbing deforestation driven by EU consumption.”
But, argued Mighty Earth, that analysis had only considered the NR entering the EU in raw or semi-processed form, and had failed to consider imports embedded within tires.
A 'trialogue' between the European Commission, Council and Parliament will next take place to agree a final version of the regulation by the end of 2022.