UK to introduce new laws to protect rainforests

UK to introduce new laws to protect rainforests

The UK government has announced that it will be introducing a new “world-leading” law to clean up the UK’s supply chains and protect rainforests from illegal deforestation.

The proposed legislation would prohibit larger UK businesses from using products grown on land that was deforested illegally.

Businesses would be required to carry out due diligence on their supply chains to ensure their products, for example, cocoa, rubber, or soy, are produced in line with local laws protecting forests and other natural ecosystems. They will also be required to publish this information and account for where these products are sourced.

Fines would be issued to any businesses that fail to comply with the new legislation.

International environment minister Lord Goldsmith said: “We have all seen the devastating pictures of the world’s most precious forests being cleared, often illegally, and we can’t afford not to act as a country.

“There is a hugely important connection between the products we buy and their wider environmental footprint, which is why the government is consulting today on new measures that would make it illegal for businesses in the UK to use commodities that are not grown in accordance with local laws.”

The UK government is currently consulting on the proposed laws and will take into consideration the views of UK and international stakeholders and the potential impacts on businesses and other interests.

Ruth Chambers, from the Greener UK coalition, said: “This consultation is a welcome first step in the fight to tackle the loss of our planet’s irreplaceable natural wonders such as the Amazon and in the pursuit of supply chains free from products that contribute to deforestation.

“The evidence linking deforestation with climate change, biodiversity loss and the spread of zoonotic diseases is compelling. A new law is an important part of the solution and is urgently needed. The government’s flagship Environment Bill provides a timely vehicle to progress this.

“The proposal must now be tested thoroughly to ensure it will deliver the Government’s domestic and international environmental leadership ambitions.”

Share icon
Share this article: