New legislation will make it illegal for larger businesses to use products unless they comply with local laws to protect natural areas.
The UK will go further than ever before to clamp down on illegal deforestation and protect rainforests thanks to new world-leading rules being introduced through the landmark Environment Bill.
New measures mean that it will be illegal for UK businesses to use commodities that have not been produced in line with local laws protecting forests and other natural ecosystems, and include a requirement for greater due diligence from businesses to meet this requirement.
Combined, the package of measures will ensure that greater resilience, traceability and sustainability are built into the UK’s supply chain. They will require British business to work in partnership with other countries and support farmers to move towards more sustainable food and land use systems.
80% of deforestation is linked to the expansion of agriculture, with land being cleared to make way for grazing animals and to grow crops. The UK imports over half of the food it consumes, and while in global terms the UK is a relatively small consumer of forest risk commodities such as cocoa, rubber, soya, and palm oil, we are leaving an ever-larger footprint on the world’s forests.
The announcement coincides with the publication of a new report setting out government’s approach to tackling deforestation linked to UK demand for products such as cocoa, rubber, soya, and palm oil. The report responds to the recommendations from the independent Global Resource Initiative Taskforce, which consulted over 200 leading businesses and organisations.
There were more than 60,000 responses to the government’s consultation, with 99% in favour of legislating on this critical issue.