The Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC) was invited to speak at a seminar hosted by the Northern Sparsely Populated Areas (NSPA) in Brussels, Belgium, on October 25, 2023, focusing on the European Deforestation Regulation. More than 40 delegates from Belgium, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States attended the seminar at the North Norway European Office, East & North Finland.
I was honoured to be invited to attend the event as an expert speaker where I joined EU decision-makers and bioeconomy stakeholders and authorities to share perspectives and discuss the broad implications of the legislation and possible outcomes. Canada was the only non-Nordic nation invited to sit on the expert panel.
Countries classified as low risk are subject to simplified EUDR due diligence requirements, and Canada is well positioned to achieve this classification. Less than 1/2 of one percent of Canadian forests have been deforested since 1990. In addition, Canada uses an integrated approach to forest management that considers environmental, economic, and Indigenous reconciliation benefits.
WPAC is encouraging EU authorities to recognize Canada’s science-based approach to forest classification where decisions are made at multiple levels of government. Moreover, under the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the sovereignty of Indigenous people is being recognized in forests and it is very concerning European authorities would attempt to override Indigenous rights.
WPAC is committed to complying with geolocation requirements, however, wood pellets are made from hundreds of wood particles. A single batch of wood pellets will be sourced from thousands of plots of land covering many thousand square kilometres. Moreover, when individual batches of wood pellets reach the loading port, they are mixed with pellets from other pellet plants. It is common for as many as 15 plants to contribute to a vessel load of wood pellets. Tracing each wood particle back to its source will be complex and require substantial computing power.
The EUDR is set to be implemented by December 2024, which means the Canadian pellet industry has a little over a year to develop the necessary computing tools to comply with geolocation requirements.
View WPAC presentation: EUDR: A Canadian Perspective
Read WPAC position paper: WPAC Position Paper: Implementation of the European Union Deforestation Regulation
Read WPAC trip summary: Northern Perspectives on the European Deforestation Regulation Trip Report
View: Recording of Seminar
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Gordon Murray is the Executive Director of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada.