UK government considers supply chain deforestation law

Consultation period will ask whether due diligence should be required to judge whether illegal deforestation is occurring in supply chains

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is consulting on whether or not the government should introduce a new law requiring businesses to ensure that forest-risk commodities they use have been produced legally.

The UK government launched the Global Resource Initiative in 2019 as part of its 25 Year Environment Plan. One of the key recommendations of the independent task force was for a mandatory due diligence requirement. The UK government is also seeking public input.

Any new law would aim to prevent forests and other important natural areas from being converted illegally into agricultural land, with companies which do not comply or undertake due diligence being liable for fines.

The consultation closes on 5 October 2020 with the government then publishing a summary report on the feedback received.  Almost half of recent tropical deforestation is the result of illegal conversion of land for commercial agriculture and timber plantations.

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