Large companies will face major fines if they cannot prove their supply chains are not linked to illegal deforestation, under a proposed UK government crackdown.
The proposals would prohibit larger businesses operating in the UK from using products grown on land that was deforested illegally.
These businesses would be required to carry out due diligence on their supply chains by publishing information to show where key commodities – for example, cocoa, rubber, soy and palm oil – came from and that they were produced in line with local laws protecting forests and other natural ecosystems.
Businesses that fail to comply would be subject to fines, with the precise level to be set at a later date.
Deforestation – which is linked to climate change, biodiversity loss and infectious diseases – accounts for 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Around 80% of deforestation is caused by the production of agricultural commodities, and most deforestation – up to 90% in some countries – is illegal.
The proposed legislation is designed to work in tandem with the existing efforts of governments, communities and business in producer countries to enforce national laws.
A consultation, which is currently underway, is gathering views from UK and international stakeholders, and looking at potential impacts on businesses and other interests.
In June, the UK government committed a further £16 million of funding to help scale up environmentally-friendly farming, forest conservation and replanting in the Amazon.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.