EU: Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence

During the first reading of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence (CSDD) proposal, the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), Legal Affairs Committee (JURI), agreed on new rules to integrate human rights and environmental impact into companies’ governance. The indicative plenary vote for the CSDD is scheduled for May 31, 2023. The proposed CSDD aims to require companies to identify and prevent any negative impact of their activities, including those of their business partners, on human rights and the environment, such as child labor, slavery, labor exploitation, pollution, environmental degradation, and biodiversity loss.

The JURI extended the application of the new rules to include EU-based companies with over 250 employees and a worldwide turnover higher than 40 million euro, as well as parent companies with over 500 employees and a worldwide turnover higher than 150 million euro. The rules would also apply to non-EU companies with a turnover higher than 150 million euro if at least 40 million was generated in the EU. To facilitate compliance, member states would set up a national helpdesk and the Commission would prepare detailed guidelines. MEPs proposed fines to be at least 5% of the net worldwide turnover and to ban non-compliant third-country companies from public procurement.

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EU: Consultation on Marketing Standards

On April 21, 2023, the European Commission proposed to revise the existing marketing standards applicable to a number of agri-food products, including nuts and dried fruit. The comment period ends May 19, 2023.

According to the European Commission, this initiative aims to:

  • encourage the supply of more sustainable fruit and vegetable products to consumers;
  • modernize outdated rules; and
  • simplify current legislation on marketing standards and align it with the requirements of the Treaty of Lisbon.

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EU: Parliament Adopts New Law to Fight Global Deforestation

On April 19, 2023, the European Parliament approved a proposal for a regulation on deforestation-free products. This proposal builds upon the European Commission’s original draft, which was introduced on November 17, 2021, and aims to reduce EU-driven deforestation and forest degradation.

The Parliament’s adopted text expands the product coverage to include rubber, charcoal, printed paper products, and several palm oil derivatives. Additionally, the definition of forest degradation has been broadened to include the conversion of primary or naturally regenerating forests into plantation forests or other wooded land.

Under this regulation, companies will only be allowed to sell certain products, such as cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soya, and wood-based products, including leather, chocolate, and furniture, if they can prove that these products do not come from deforested land or have led to forest degradation after December 31, 2020.

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EU: Update of the Nutri-Score Algorithm for Beverages

In June 2022, the Nutri-Score Scientific Committee (ScC) released a report on updating the algorithm, which included the “general foods” and “fats, oils, nuts, and seeds” categories.

A new document outlines the proposed update by the ScC for beverages, which recommends that all beverages, including milk, milk-based drinks, fermented milk-based drinks, and plant-based beverages, be included in the category. The categories were adapted from the current Codex Alimentarius food category system described in the general standard for food additives’ classification of food products, and from categories listed in other front-of-pack labeling systems used in the European Union.

The new update intends to better categorize beverages to their sugar content. According to the new modifications, water will be the only beverage that can achieve the highest score (A). All other beverages will be classified between B and E.

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