WAV Comment: A positive move by the British government to take action against illegal activities. We welcome and hope other nations will also follow with something like this.
British companies will be forced to reveal the sources of their raw materials, under new laws to end deforestation.
The Environment Bill will force businesses to comply with local deforestation rules
British companies will be forced to reveal the sources of their raw materials under new laws to clamp down on deforestation, the government has revealed.
Sourcing materials in a way which illegally degrades the environment abroad will be made illegal under the Environment Bill, ministers announced, in response to a government consultation.
Over 60,000 people responded, with 99 per cent in favour of legislating in favour of the issue.
Currently, the nature of our supply chains means that products such as soy, beef, palm oil and leather are difficult to trace back to their original source.
Now, key commodities such as these will have to be declared by companies, who will have to act quickly in order to ensure their suppliers are not taking part in illegal deforestation abroad or degrading other important natural ecosystems.
According to a new government report, 80 per cent 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.
International Environment Minister, Lord Goldsmith, said: “In every conceivable way we depend on the natural world around us. Rainforests cool the planet, provide clean air and water, and are a haven for some of the most endangered species on Earth – and so protecting them must be a core priority.
“Our new due diligence law is one piece of a much bigger package of measures that we are putting in place to tackle deforestation. Our intent is not just to take world-leading domestic measures, but to build a global alliance of countries committed to working together to protect the world’s precious forests.
“Last month, nearly 80 countries signed the Leader’s Pledge for Nature, committing to reverse the destruction of nature by 2030. The UK played a key role in crafting the pledge, and as hosts of the next and all important UN Climate Conference, we have a chance to turn those powerful words into action.”
The minister has committed to cleaning up Britain’s supply chains, and a larger package of measures is set to be announced, including through future trade policies, public procurement, and the development of a sustainable Food Service Sector Action Plan. Igniting change in the financial sector also features heavily in the government’s approach, including scaling up investment in sustainable land-use.
The government is also working with supermarkets, urging them to make zero deforestation pledges.
CEO of Tesco UK & ROI, Jason Tarry, said: “Due diligence has an important role to play in halting deforestation, fighting climate change and protecting communities. We welcome these new measures as an important first step towards creating a level playing field in the UK, aligned with Tesco’s goal of zero deforestation. We hope this encourages all businesses to do the right thing.”