What impact does the EU Deforestation Regulation have on coffee and cocoa chains?

February 15, 2024

What impact does the EU Deforestation Regulation have on coffee and cocoa chains? We spoke to a coffee roaster, an importer, and a cocoa exporter.

January 1, 2025, is the deadline. From then on, every coffee and cocoa bean harvested after 2020 must be deforestation-free. On the surface, a simple goal, but with a very complex implementation. To this day, there are still many questions about the new law and especially doubts about its feasibility.

To explore the questions, objections, and opportunities for coffee and cocoa chains, we spoke with Michael Wienhold (Trader at coffee importer Rehm & Co), Camila Olmedo (Sustainability Manager at ECOM Latin America), and Lena Schweighöfer and Reena Eddiks (Sustainability Managers at coffee roaster Tchibo).

Each party offers unique perspectives and insights into the EUDR that is causing a stir in European value chains. From an urgent plea to the EU Commission to not exclude coffee and cocoa farmers, to new technological initiatives and the necessary focus on well-thought-out methodologies.

Episode #9: The perspective of the coffee importer

Michael Wienhold explains that the introduction of the EUDR came as a shock for many. Terms like neo-colonialism quickly buzzed through the market, and Michael heard about illegal movements of green coffee within coffee origins. Michael also states that the feasibility of the law depends on the support within organizations. Smaller parties, inside and outside of coffee origins, will have to work harder to comply with the law: from collecting data to generating due diligence statements.

Episode #10: The perspective of a coffee and cocoa exporter

Camila Olmedo talks about the topics that catch her attention within the market. She argues that parties need to better align their commercial and sustainable agendas and sees many questions coming from major cocoa brands. Camila argues that every actor must share data to ensure that cocoa brands succeed in deforestation-free chains. She also sounds the alarm about cost allocation, because cocoa farmers cannot bear the costs of data collection, due to their already precarious situation. Camila also addresses new technological developments that help cocoa brands comply and ensure cocoa farmers are not excluded from the supply chain.

Episode #12: The perspective of the coffee roaster

Lena Schweighöfer and Reena Eddiks explain that regulation, specifically the EUDR, is necessary to achieve climate goals. However, they indicate that there is much room for interpreting the EUDR in its current form. This creates many practical questions from the market and Tchibo. Reena also states that there is too much focus on technology. She argues that technology only comes into play once parties have mapped specific problems within each origin. Like poverty, poor infrastructure, human rights violations, or deforestation. Reena argues that methodology takes precedence, and technology facilitates the road to achieving the methodology and initiated projects and programs.

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