Change is in the air. New regulations to address deforestation are under development in the EU, UK, and US and there is a groundswell of support, from civil society and corporate actors alike, for Due Diligence requirements to form the backbone of such legislation. This development is timely; a host of academic research now illustrates the importance of voluntary commitments to tackle deforestation. However, effective Due Diligence is not necessarily easy to legislate for.
Next month a decade will also have passed since the EU passed the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), one of the first mandatory Due Diligence laws in the world. Since the EUTR came into force in 2013, there have been a number of critical lessons to be learnt from both the successes and limitations of the Regulation, as well as other laws, notably in the US, which aim to tackle illegal and unsustainable products in global supply chains. This paper explores those lessons which must inform future regulation if it is to have any chance of success.