What do the new EU Deforestation Regulations mean for small businesses?

From December this year, there is a new regulation coming into play for brands selling paper goods (among others) into the EU market. Michele Ferron, founder of Once Upon A Tuesday has been getting her head around what this means for small businesses.

The new regulation is aimed at tackling deforestation linked to EU consumption of certain commodities – cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, rubber, soy and timber. This includes derived products like leather, chocolate, furniture, tires and paper goods.

As we sell stationery to shops and people in EU countries, this new regulation is relevant to us.

As a major economy and consumer of these commodities linked to deforestation and forest degradation, the EU is partly responsible for this problem and it wants to lead the way to solving it.

While we’re getting our heads around what it means, we thought we’d share some of our findings for other small businesses to learn from.

How does it affect us as a brand?

The basics are that, as a brand, we are responsible for conducting due diligence to ensure we are not linked to deforestation through our supply chain. We need to be able to prove this and will include risk assessments, geo-location data, and supplier audits.

All companies must be able to prove that their products do not originate from recently deforested land or have contributed to forest degradation – for larger companies this starts from 30 December 2024, and for small and micro companies, like us, it starts 30 June 2025.

Above: All Once Upon A Tuesday’s products are made with 100% post-consumer waste.
Above: All Once Upon A Tuesday’s products are made with 100% post-consumer waste.

Why are we already prepared?

This regulation is all about keeping our forests healthy – which we fully support.

The good news is, we sell 100% post-consumer recycled products – which means we know that our products do not contribute to deforestation, as no trees where harmed in the production.

However, we will still have to be able to show this. We’re not quite sure yet what and how we have to share this information – but hopefully with time will come answers (if anyone knows, please share!)

Luckily, as we are BCorp certified, we have optimal clarity on the supply chain – we understand where all our paper is produced (Austria seems to have most of the recycled paper mills we source from) and we have full product spec on each paper we use.

The bottom line

Any small brands selling into the EU, or to retailers that operate in the EU (that includes Ireland) – need to be compliant by 30 June 2025. Larger retailers need to be compliant by December 2024 – so if you supply any major retailers, it’s worth having the conversation with them. The best way to be complaint is to start looking at your supply chain and really understand where your materials or goods originate from, who makes them and ideally get product data sheets from your suppliers. The more information you have, the better prepared you will be.

Want to learn more?

You can find out more on the European Union website: Regulation on Deforestation-free products – you can also check out this handy fact sheet from the FSC: FSC EUDR Fact sheet | fsc.org

*This article is for informational purposes only and isn’t legal advice.

Michele Ferron is the founder of Once Upon A Tuesday, a certified BCorp stationery brand based in Cornwall.

 

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