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World-leading new law to protect rainforests and clean up supply chains - Defra

Legislation would make it illegal for larger businesses to use products unless they comply with local laws to protect natural areas.

Plans to clamp down on illegal deforestation and protect rainforests have been published by the government today (25 August) as it consults on a world-leading new law to clean up the UK’s supply chains.

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.

Protecting forests is central to tackling climate change, with deforestation accounting for 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The vast majority of deforestation – 80% – is caused by the production of agricultural commodities and most deforestation – up to 90% in some countries – is illegal. The destruction and degradation of these vital habitats also increases the risk of extreme weather events, drives biodiversity loss, and exacerbates the spread of infectious diseases.

This approach is designed to work in tandem with the existing efforts of governments, communities and business in producer countries to enforce national laws, benefiting law-abiding producers and companies. The proposed legislation makes clear that illegally produced commodities have no place in the UK market, as we build back greener from coronavirus.

Posted on: 26 August 2020

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