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Many of you may have been able to join our webinar (see link to the recording here, you will need the password) on the subject of EUDR at the end of last Month.

It was interesting for me for a number of reasons. I certainly learned a lot about what EUDR might mean for exporting countries, and in subsequent conversation, have filled in on some things that might not have been obvious at the time.

From Gert van de Bijl of Solidaridad's presentation, I understood that in terms of Europe's deforestation 'footprint' beef is actually a small contributor , due in large part to existing controls on beef imports. So at the moment, the estimate is that beef imports represent around 3% of the deforestation that Europe is associated with through imports.

Other commodities are more significant, and some of them may not be on everyone's radar. Rubber, for example, is actually one of the largest contributors to EU's deforestation footprint. Others are likely much more familiar, including palm oil, soy and other crop commodities, and those can and are also involved in feed supply chains and therefore can also be implicated in livestock production.

The other figure that stood out as being very low was from Fernando Sampaio's presentation, in which he told us that only 1 % of Brazilian beef is exported to Europe. That is a relatively valuable 1% and there are certainly ambitions to increase that.

From further conversations, it seems that as Europe has a deficit in beef production, and as Brazil is exporting a growing proportion of their beef (from a low of 20% to about 30% now) we would expect to see that 1% grow in the future.

What EUDR will do is create a filter on that growth to make sure that it is deforestation-free. The assumption in Europe must be that this will lead to a decrease in deforestation, though I think that is less certain, unless others start using the same framework. Those others could include other importing regions such as the US.

China is the largest importer of Brazilian Beef, with the Middle East and Egypt below them. Rather than expecting those markets to impose deforestation conditions on imports, it is more likely that the finance sector could do so, which could end up having broader implications. If the finance sector adopts EUDR as a general requirement for investments covering commitments from countries with a perceived deforestation risk it could become very influential, in the way, for example, that SBTi is influential in climate impact.

Josefina is much closer to all of this than I am, both physically and in terms of expertise leading the Nature Positive Working Group, so I defer to her for more insights on this question. We will be following developments closely and working with members as this moves forward.

Thank you, 

Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director
12 July 2023

As Rory rightly said, and I have already commented in other editions of Connect, in the region where I work, Latin America, the EUDR has had many repercussions.

Beyond the different points of view on whether or not local actors agree with what the European Regulation says, it was approved and if they want to continue exporting to Europe, they will have to prepare to comply with it, with only 18 months left.

For Brazil, Europe represents 1% of its exports; for Argentina 13% (2020). And beyond the percentages, the prices that Europe pays for the types of cuts that they buy are attractive to most exporters and it is a market that they want to preserve.

Personally, I do not believe that this Regulation by itself is going to solve the problem of deforestation. It definitely created awareness and has led to discussions with an increasingly high level of knowledge about Deforestation, Degradation, Conversion and definitions of what are considered Forests and what are not. I think this is also very positive.

It has generated discussions on "environmental" traceability, beyond the already existing sanitary traceability for Europe. It has also started exchanges with local governments on access to data, information of origin, georeferencing, and the importance of public-private collaboration which has become evident, since the Regulation falls on private actors (exporters) but the origin (farm/production unit) and transportation data for the products generally reside in public sources.

Technology has advanced a lot in recent times through BlockChain, satellites, and multiple applications and programs that allow faster access to information. I believe that this is the beginning of new directions for international (and local) trade to head. The need to provide information in a transparent and rapid manner is vital, not only in terms of deforestation or conversion, but also on emissions, human rights, health and animal welfare, and type of production system (beef from feedlot or pasture). Consumers are more aware of the need to be informed and know the origin of what they consume.

It is known that the regulations on European deforestation will be followed with somewhat different requirements by the United Kingdom and the United States. Possibly China will also have environmental requirements at some point, which is why it is important that we all prepare and collaborate between different institutions.

On the other hand, I believe it is essential that there be more discussion forums, where regions such as Latin America can bring their perspectives regarding the social and economic importance of livestock, and the impact that this region has on Climate Change and the problems that facing the world today.

Happily, I see that there are multiple organizations that are working on sustainable livestock, the challenge is to collaborate among all and join efforts. With IICA we are achieving it, and that is a great step.

The COPs also represent a great opportunity, where we can all come together and carry a consensual message with data based on science.

I think there is still a lot to do, but I feel that we are on the right track. The challenge is not to slow down, but quite the opposite, to be more efficient and open to working together towards the same goal, improving the sustainability of livestock.

Thank you,

Josefina Eisele
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Regional Director for Latin America 
12 July 2023


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