Proposals to introduce new laws to tackle deforestation in UK supply chains do not go far enough to protect the world’s vulnerable tropical forests
The UK government has today announced a consultation on due diligence legislation that would require companies to ensure that forest-risk commodities that have not been legally produced do not enter their supply chain, and to report on this exercise publicly.
The legislation would cover imports of palm oil, soy, beef and leather produced in tropical forest areas, as well as embedded products, including soy in animal feed.
The announcement comes as fires burn across the Amazon and the Indonesian rainforest following record levels of deforestation in recent months.
Responding to the announcement, Helen Bellfield, Global Canopy's Policy Director, said:
“It is welcome that the government is seeking to address this issue, but this proposal would not do enough to stop tropical deforestation in the Amazon and elsewhere. No company should be importing products that are the result of illegal deforestation – but they also should not be importing goods from areas where weak legislation means that forests are being legally cleared.”
According to data by Global Canopy’s Forest 500 project, many UK companies are already seeking to go beyond blocking illegal deforestation by eradicating all deforestation from their supply chains.
Forest 500 data shows that of 126 UK-based companies, 102 have a deforestation commitment for at least one of the forest-risk commodities in their supply chains, but the latest assessment by Forest 500 also shows that not enough is being done to ensure these commitments are being implemented.
The UK Government is inviting input on this issue. To tell ministers that the new law must also address goods from areas where weak legislation means that forests are being legally cleared, visit the consultation page and make a submission. You can also use WWF's online tool to automatically send an email to the UK Government in response to their consultation.
Image: Container ship in Southampton, Nigel Brown, Flickr