Case Studies

How to address the challenges arising from the European Union Deforestation-Free Products Regulation?

Here you will find case study videos about good and bad practices in addressing commodity driven deforestation. The selected case studies include examples from the demand side in the EU and supply side in non-EU producer countries (e.g. Brazil, Argentina) from the forest and agricultural sector, covering different forest-risk commodities (FRCs) regulated under the EUDR. They also include a broad range of policy and governance initiatives, including public regulations, producer country jurisdictional approaches, private regulation, industry self-regulation as well as science- and data-based approaches.

The selected case studies focus on three interconnected thematic areas :

Compliance refers to public agencies and non-state actors’ activities in relation to implementing and enforcing the new EU Regulation on Deforestation-free products (EUDR).

The term Corporate Social Responsibility refers to what businesses do to comply with the EUDR.

Technology refers to what service and knowledge providers offer as tools, systems and processes to support the EUDR’s implementation and enforcement.

The EU Observatory on deforestation and forest degradation

Organisation: Etifor

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The EUFO was developed as a response to the need for harmonised information on land use change worldwide after the  EUDR’s adoption. It aims to provide continuous monitoring of changes in the world’s forest cover and related drivers, and facilitate access to information on supply chains. Its innovation in pushing forward the EUDR’s implementation lies in both compliance and technology scopes, as it offers official, open access and easy to use data likely to assist competent authorities, operators, and traders in addressing challenges related to implementing the Regulation. Nevertheless, the platform presents limitations, notably in terms of accuracy, largely stemming from its deficiency in country-specific data.

Author: Helena Leonel Ferreira

Mapping supply chains: Trase’s role in unveiling the nexus between global commodity trade and deforestation

Organisation: Etifor

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In this video you will learn about Trase, a data-driven initiative designed to unveil the complex interplay between global commodity trade, financial flows, and deforestation. It enables companies, investors and governments to evaluate their exposure to deforestation and pursue more sustainable production opportunities. By combining trade and spatial data, Trase maps global commodity flows to spotlight connections to deforestation and other impacts, such as carbon emission. Its contribution in advancing the EUDR’s implementation lies in its effectiveness, transparency, and feasibility. It assists compliance efforts by targeting interventions in high-risk areas. Transparency is ensured through openly accessible data and methods. Additionally, Trase’s partnerships with governments, industry, and civil society enhance its feasibility. Despite challenges related to data granularity and mapping precision due to variable subnational data availability, Trase is improving its platform by integrating more detailed production data and company-disclosed information. 

Author: Elena Massarenti

Verité: Fair Labor, Worldwide

Organisation: University of Padova

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Verité is a civil society organization addressing labor and human rights violations in global supply chains. Verité collaborates across sectors to develop tools, programs, and research to assess and improve labor conditions. It provides transparency, due diligence support, and human rights training for businesses. Acting as a consultancy and audit body, Verité detects abuses like forced labor, human trafficking, and discrimination. With a global network of experts, Verité impacts sectors including agriculture and forestry, focusing on issues like palm oil and cocoa production linked to deforestation and poor labor conditions.

Author: Giovanni Bausano

Satelligence: Satellite Monitoring, simplified

Organisation: University of Padova

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In this video you will learn about Satelligence, which uses radar, optical satellites, remote sensing, and modeling to provide geo-referenced data for businesses, NGOs, and governments to meet zero deforestation commitments. Satelligence monitors crop-producing areas and natural ecosystems, assesses supply chain risks, and offers a traceability platform for verifying compliance with legislation and certification schemes. It helps companies analyze and visualize supply chain data, providing real-time, reliable insights. Satelligence integrates fieldwork, satellite data, AI, and machine learning to monitor about 6 billion hectares globally, including 66M hectares of soy, 25M of oil palm, 6M of coffee, 13M of rubber, 9M of coconut, and 31,000 timber and pulp plantations.

Author: Giovanni Bausano

Forensic timber tracing to link traded wood to deforestation

Organisation: Wageningen University and Research

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In this video you will learn about forensic timber tracing. A substantial share of tropical deforestation is associated with timber exploitation. The EUDR aims to reduce this exploitation-associated deforestation, by requiring traders to verify the geographic origin of timber and provide documentation to support this. Yet, this compliance system is sensitive to fraud. Competent authorities responsible to verify compliance with the EUDR therefore need to be able to perform independent checks on the traded timber. Timber tracing – the independent verification of origin based on chemical or genetic characteristics of traded wood – is a potentially important tool to verify timber origin. 

Authors: Pieter Zuidema, Mart Vlam, and Bárbara Rocha Venancio Meyer-Sand 

New sustainability policy of the Dutch Pension Fund and the EUDR

Organisation: Wageningen University and Research

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In this video you will learn about the largest Dutch pension fund ABP, which has adopted new zero deforestation commitments. These are largely in line with the EUDR, as they use similar or more stringent cut-off dates and risk-based decision making.The risk approach they use is however less stringent than what is required of operators and traders placing commodities on the EU market, prompting the question whether the 2025 EUDR review will lead to more binding obligations for financial institutions.

Authors: Jelle Behagel and Roald Nooijens

Supporting EUDR Implementation through Scientific Timber Testing

Organisation: Preffered by Nature

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In this video, we introduce scientific timber testing as a best practice for meeting the EUDR’s due diligence requirements and highlight the role of the World Forest ID (WFID), a non-profit building a global reference library for timber. Scientific timber testing, using methods like Wood Anatomy Analysis, DNA Analysis, and Mass Spectrometry, helps determine species or origin but is limited by reference data. Accurate origin identification is crucial for deforestation-free supply chains, requiring a comprehensive reference database. WFID aims to expand this data by collecting samples worldwide. The EUDR requires operators and traders to demonstrate deforestation-free origins through geolocation and species data. Although not legally required, scientific testing verifies origins, aiding risk assessments. In a project with Preferred by Nature, WFID aimed to ensure European timber did not come from Russia by collecting about 4,000 samples from Eastern Europe, enhancing testing accuracy.

Author: Tim Bender

Risk Assessments, Sourcing Hub and Risk Information Alliance (RIA)

Organisation: Preffered by Nature

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In this video, you will learn about how to incorporate risk assessments at country and commodity level within due diligence systems. We explain how this work can be facilitated by open-source data and multi-stakeholder initiatives. Including high-level sustainability risk assessment information within due diligence systems, is necessary, but not that straightforward. Developing and making available to all stakeholders credible, useful and detailed risk information is therefore very important. The Sourcing Hub and the Risk Information Alliance (RIA) are two initiatives striving to strengthen and facilitate the availability of risk data, in a complementary way. The RIA is a project aiming at building synergies and sharing efforts and resources to develop risk data among interested organisations. The Sourcing hub platform is one way to deliver the sustainability data to users in a practical way. 

Author: Chloé Viala

The EUDR’s inspection obligations for competent authorities

Organisation: University of Freiburg

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This video covers the EUDR’s inspection obligations for authorities to enhance regulatory effectiveness compared to the EUTR. The EUDR requires uniform inspection activities across EU Member States, with differentiated intensities based on three-tier deforestation and degradation risks. Authorities must address high-risk non-compliance before products enter the EU market and respond to substantiated concerns. The EUDR aims to ensure uniform enforcement, transparency, and cross-border collaboration, considering past issues like uneven stringency and resource constraints under the EUTR.

Authors: Laila Berning, Ulrich Malessa, Metodi Sotirov

The role of substantiated concerns under the EUDR

Organisation: University of Freiburg

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This video explains the whole-of-society approach under the EUDR, which enhances the role of non-state actors compared to the EUTR. Substantiated concerns, now defined and prescribed, help deter corporate non-compliance by leveraging supply chain transparency and NGO watchdog activities. Authorities must assess these concerns and follow up, and operators must include them in risk assessments and inform authorities and clients. This improves identifying and sanctioning non-compliant participants. Additionally, those who submit concerns can challenge authorities’ decisions. A potential drastic increase in inspection obligations for competent authorities could be considered a limitation to overcome if they face constraints in processing substantiated concerns.

Authors: Laila Berning, Ulrich Malessa, Metodi Sotirov

The EUDR’s Benchmarking system: assigning deforestation and forest degradation risk levels

Organisation: University of Freiburg

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This video explains the EUDR’s benchmarking system, which uses a three-tier risk rating to improve compliance and efficiency compared to the EU Timber Regulation. The EUDR categorizes countries inside and outside the EU as low, standard, or high-risk based on deforestation rates, agricultural expansion, and FRC production. This helps enterprises identify supply chain risks and allows targeted inspections. Low-risk areas have fewer inspection requirements, while standard and high-risk areas face stricter scrutiny. Currently, all countries are standard-risk, but a list of low and high-risk areas will be published by December 30th, 2024. The system has limitations, including lack of legality risk assessments and potential diplomatic issues with producer countries. Cooperation with high-risk countries is essential to avoid negative impacts.

Authors: Laila Berning, Ulrich Malessa, Metodi Sotirov

The ELAN-Tool by Global Nature Fund and OroVerde: Efficacy in Deforestation-Free Supply Chains

Organisation: Open Forests

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This video offers a comprehensive exploration of the collaboration between the Global Nature Fund and OroVerde – the Tropical Rainforest Foundation, focusing on the development and functionality of the ELAN tool. It will begin with an introduction to the significance of this case study, highlighting the mission and background of both organisations. Following, we will dive into the overview of the ELAN tool, detailing its purpose, target audience, key features, and funding. The video will show the guidance provided by ELAN briefly, its focus on critical commodities, and its role in promoting regulatory compliance and sustainability. Additionally, the video will assess the impact of the ELAN tool, considering its effectiveness, positive aspects, and areas for improvement. It will conclude by summarising the benefits and limitations of ELAN, acknowledging its value while suggesting avenues for enhancement to better meet the diverse needs of businesses aiming for deforestation-free supply chains.

Author: Isabell Rzepecki

Forest Stewardship Council: Navigating the Shades of Success and Controversy in Deforestation-Free Supply Chains

Organisation: Open Forests

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This video spotlights the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as a case study example for ensuring deforestation-free supply chains, focusing on wood and rubber commodities. It emphasises FSC’s pivotal role in promoting responsible forest management and transparency throughout the supply chain. Viewers will gain insights into FSC’s rigorous certification process, which encompasses assessments of forest management practices and chain of custody procedures to ensure compliance with strict standards related to biodiversity conservation, indigenous rights, community engagement, and environmental protection. The video will highlight FSC’s impact on empowering consumers, businesses, and governments to combat deforestation and promote sustainability. Additionally, it will address recent scandals that have raised concerns about FSC’s certification process, underscoring the need for reforms to restore trust and integrity.

Author: Isabell Rzepecki

Payment for Ecosystem Services

Organisation: Copenaghen Business School

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This video explores the potential and limitations of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) programs as a tool to combat deforestation. It delves into the complexities of these programs, which offer financial compensation to individuals, communities, or landholders who engage in activities that conserve and protect ecosystems. While PES programs offer promising incentives for curbing deforestation, they also present challenges, such as ‘leakage,’ where deforestation shifts to other areas if not comprehensively addressed. In this video, viewers will learn about the strategies to enhance the effectiveness of PES and be inspired to explore how PES can become a powerful tool for achieving long-term forest conservation.

Author: Kristjan Jespersen

Mass Balance Supply Chain Model

Organisation: Copenaghen Business School

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This video focuses on the debate surrounding mass balance models used in the palm oil supply chains. In mass balancing, certified palm oil is mixed with conventional palm oil and processed together resulting in products carrying sustainability labels. Quantities are controlled and closely monitored to ensure that the volume of certified product sold aligns with the quantity introduced into the supply chain. While the video showcases how the mass balance model is celebrated for its ability to minimise segregation and lower transaction costs, all while leveraging the benefits of scale and efficiency, it also informs the audience about the perspectives of those who critique the model.

Authors: Kristjan Jespersen, Kedar Uttam

Selo Verde Platform - Checking the Cattle Supply Chain in Pará (Brazil)

Organisation: Aid Environment

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In this video you will learn about Selo Verde. Selo Verde is a traceability system with an openly available platform that cross-references data on agricultural production and socioenvironmental compliance of rural properties. It was launched in 2021 in cooperation between state agencies (SEMAS in the case of Pará and IEF in Minas Gerais state), Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), and Centro de Inteligência Territorial (CIT), with the support of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA), and Amazon/Amazon Web Services. The platform integrates public information on land use from several federal, state, and municipal governmental agencies to assess occurrences of illegal deforestation, environmental irregularities, and land regularisation in cattle-producing properties in Pará and Minas Gerais states in Brazil.

Authors: Joana Faggin, Marco Garcia, Valerie de Vries

Beef on Track - A Sectorial Tool to Monitor the Cattle Supply Chain in Brazil

Organisation: Aid Environment

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This video introduces ‘Beef on Track’, a program established in 2020 to harmonize the implementation of the Term of Adjustment of Conduct (TAC) and the Public Livestock Commitment, two Brazilian deforestation-free agreements in the cattle sector. These agreements require procurement control systems, geo-monitoring, and independent audits to prevent sourcing from illegally deforested areas. Beef on Track aims to standardize these commitments, avoiding inconsistent company protocols. The program is governed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPF) and Imaflora, a Brazilian environmental NGO.

Authors: Joana Faggin, Marco Garcia, Valerie de Vries 

Amazon Soy Moratorium and the Soft Commodity Forum to monitor the soy supply chain in Brazil

Organisation: Aid Environment

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This video covers the Amazon Soy Moratorium (ASM) and the Soft Commodities Forum (SCF). The ASM, since 2006, is a voluntary agreement to stop soy-driven deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, banning the trade and financing of soy from deforested areas post-July 2008. It involves the private sector, civil society, and is endorsed by the Brazilian government. The SCF, started in 2019 by major grain traders, addresses deforestation in the Brazilian Cerrado biome, focusing on 61 priority municipalities where most soy-driven deforestation occurs. Led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, SCF monitors areas based on soy planting and deforestation rates.

Authors: Joana Faggin, Marco Garcia, Valerie de Vries

The Rainforest Alliance

Organisation: Makerere University

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 In this video you will learn about the Rainforest Alliance, an international non-profit organisation promoting environmentally responsible agriculture and forestry. Its mission includes protecting forests, improving farmers’ livelihoods, upholding human rights, and supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation. The organisation focuses on commodities like coffee, cocoa, tea, and bananas. The Rainforest Alliance Certification Program helps farmers improve crop quality, adapt to climate change, increase productivity, and reduce costs, ensuring a reliable supply of certified products for businesses and maintaining brand credibility. Farms are audited against a Sustainable Agriculture Standard with comprehensive guidelines. With over two million farmers in about 60 countries, the Rainforest Alliance introduced a policy in December 2023 to help stakeholders comply with the EUDR, particularly for coffee and cocoa.The Rainforest Alliance may also share compliance information, including geolocation data and deforestation risk assessments, under its EUDR Data Sharing Policy, highlighting its commitment to sustainable agriculture and responsible supply chain management.

Author: Michael Mbogga

Kyagalanyi Coffee Exporter

Organisation: Makerere University

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In this video you will learn about Kyagalanyi Coffee Limited, Uganda’s largest coffee exporter since 1992. Kyagalanyi Coffee Limited sources robusta and arabica coffee from key regions and runs sustainability initiatives to improve productivity and quality while addressing climate change impacts. As a subsidiary of the Switzerland-based Volcafe, it operates under the Volcafe Responsible Sourcing (RS) program to promote sustainability in coffee value chains. The Volcafe RS Standard connects sustainability efforts to commercial needs, offering responsibly sourced coffee and key value chain insights. Kyagalanyi sources coffee from over 100,000 farmers, but only 30,000 meet current certification standards like Nespresso AAA, essential for EUDR compliance. Compliance challenges include the fragmented supply chain, with many smallholders and multiple aggregation levels. To address this, Kyagalanyi plans to train value chain players in electronic tracking to ensure traceability from the source.

Author: Michael Mbogga