9 December 2023
The UK Government has published details of its long-awaited Deforestation Due Diligence legislation. There is still no timeline for when the secondary regulation to the Environment Act 2021 will be enforced and the legislation only covers illegal deforestation. Rubber, which the European Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) recognises as a forest-risk commodity, is also excluded.
Commenting Gemma Hoskins UK Senior Director at Mighty Earth said:
“Whilst a positive step forward in protecting global forests, this new UK legislation falls short on its ‘world-beating’ promise made by the UK Government made at COP26. By failing to match the ambition of the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), which seeks to end both legal and illegal deforestation, the Government has left UK supply chains at continued risk of exposure to deforestation-linked products ending up on our supermarket shelves.
“This long-awaited secondary legislation only covers illegal deforestation, meaning Britain could become a dumping ground for products grown on legally deforested land. It is this “legal” deforestation, which is laying waste to the Cerrado savannah in Brazil, which has lost half of its land surface largely to the meat industry to grow soy for animal feed. Under Brazilian law two thirds of the Cerrado can be legally cleared for agriculture.”
“The new UK deforestation legislation also fails to include rubber as a forest-risk commodity, which is covered by the EUDR. This is a major omission given that the UK is a big importer of natural rubber via vehicle tires and spells bad news for the threatened forests of Southeast Asia.”
“This legislation also has a major loophole for businesses importing up to 500 tonnes of any forest-risk commodity who can apply for an exemption, meaning that deforestation-risk products will continue to enter UK supply chains.”
Notes to editor:
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