Fifth of UK food firms unprepared for deforestation regulation

16th May 2024


One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

After polling 250 large-scale businesses, the researchers found that 73% are still encountering challenges in tracking where their products and raw materials come from, with a fifth not ready for EUDR specifically.

The regulation will require all traders who place commodities including soy, palm oil and coffee on the EU market to be able to prove that the products do not originate from recently deforested land or have contributed to forest degradation.

However, a lack of understanding around traceability is preventing UK firms from preparing for the new rules, with 32% of businesses surveyed saying it was hindering progress.

Insufficient education around the funding opportunities for businesses wanting to digitise their supply chain tracking was reported by 32% of respondents, while 31% need to upskill staff.

Furthermore, data silos are preventing the creation of a connected, transparent supply chain, according to 31% of businesses, with 30% saying that data analysis is also an issue.

“Some businesses still don’t really understand that they need visibility of their supply chains and how supply chain visibility is at the core of traceability,” said Dr Stephanie Brooks, head of business traceability innovation at software firm Foods Connected, which carried out the survey.

“What’s needed is an education and awareness piece. Education around what direction traceability is going and awareness around what funding avenues are available to try and meet some of these challenges.”

EUDR will start to apply on 30 December 2024, with Foods Connected stating that it will lead to one of the most "monumental shifts to the food sector since the industrial revolution".

Its survey also found that 14% of large-scale businesses do not believe there is enough visibility around the new regulations, while 26% said that external pressures such as the pandemic and war in Ukraine have had an impact on the supply chain.

This has not been helped by that fact that the industry has been slow to invest in new tracking technologies, according to 30% of respondents, with Foods Connected urging businesses to make use of the funding available to them.

“84% of UK business leaders feel there is enough funding available from the government to support firms in their traceability journey,” Dr Brooks continued.

“However, a large number of respondents commented that there was still a job to be done in terms of education around this funding and how to access it.

“This funding has been key in increasing understanding around traceability and how it can benefit businesses. The pot is there, we want businesses to use it.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

The biophilic effect

Vanessa Champion reveals how biophilic design can help you meet your environmental, social and governance goals

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

A hangover from EU legislation, requirements on the need for consideration of nutrient neutrality for developments on many protected sites in England were nearly removed from the planning system in 2023.

2nd April 2024

Read more

The UK’s new biodiversity net gain (BNG) requirements could create 15,000 hectares of woodlands, heath, grasslands, and wetlands and absorb 650,000 tonnes of carbon each year.

13th March 2024

Read more

All major housing developments in England will be required by law to deliver at least a 10% increase in biodiversity under new rules that came into force today.

12th February 2024

Read more

As we approach the 40th anniversary of the Born Free Foundation, co-founder Will Travers OBE tells Chris Seekings how a new approach to conservation is needed to end animal suffering

1st February 2024

Read more

Ajirioghene Samuel looks at some exciting tree-planting initiatives, offering nature-based solutions to climate change impacts

1st February 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close