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25 Aug 2020

PA Media, The Guardian

UK sets out law to curb illegal deforestation and protect rainforests

The government has announced plans to introduce a new law to clamp down on illegal deforestation and protect rainforests by cleaning up the UK’s supply chains.

The proposals, published on Tuesday, suggest the introduction of legislation to prohibit larger businesses operating in the UK from using products grown on land that was deforested illegally.

The businesses would also face fines if they fail to carry out due diligence on their supply chains by publishing information to show where key commodities – including rubber, soil and palm oil – come from and that they are produced in line with local laws protecting forests.

The government said the size of the fines would be set later...

A consultation on the proposed legislation will run for six weeks and seek views from UK and international stakeholders...

Elena Polisano, a forests campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “Defra’s proposal to make it ‘illegal for larger businesses to use products unless they comply with local laws to protect natural areas’ is seriously flawed. We’ve all seen the way president [Jair] Bolsonaro has championed the expansion of agriculture in Brazil at the expense of the Amazon rainforest.

“There is also nothing to address the fact that some commodity producers may have one ‘sustainable’ line but continue to destroy forests elsewhere...

“We will never solve this problem without tackling demand..."