Mighty Earth calls for urgent action from UK retailers and government to end deforestation

Sydney Jones

Press Secretary

[email protected]

Carole Mitchell

Sr. Director Communications

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Mighty Earth, in collaboration with Think Film Impact Productions, held a special film screening and panel event in London on 24 November. It brought together an audience of leading retailers, including Tesco, Waitrose, M&S and John Lewis, along with civil servants from BEIS (Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy), the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, DEFRA the UN, plus environmental NGOs including Friends of the Earth, Sustain and WWF. The aim of the event was to examine how best to prevent deforestation, linked to the global meat and soy industries, from entering UK supply chains and ending up on supermarket shelves.  

The film screening was preceded by a panel discussion, which included special guest Indigenous leader from the Amazon, Benki Piyako, Will Schreiber of the Retail Soy Group and Maggie Charnley, Head of International Forests Unit at BEIS.  

Speaking during the panel event, Benki Piyako offered a message of hope, saying the election of President Lula offered a new dawn for the Amazon, but said everyone has a role to play:   

We all have a collective responsibility to ensure the resources we are using, the products coming to the UK from the Amazon do not harm nature – and we must all understand the impacts of what we are consuming. Companies must stop taking from the forest and we all must ensure we protect the Amazon, for the sake of all of life on our planet.”          

Will Schreiber of RSG (Retail Soy Group) said: 

“We must use the power, both from retailers and through strong legislation, to hold agricultural companies to account and ensure deforestation is eliminated from our supply chains.” 

Maggie Charnley, Head of the UK Government’s International Forests Unit (BEIS-FCDO)

The trader roadmap announcement at COP27 demonstrated collective action by the sector but needs to be implemented and strengthened if we are to halt and reverse the loss of forests and other ecosystems. Strong UK and EU due diligence legislation paired with efforts in Brazilian law must support consumer interests to ensure our supply chains work with local communities and do not drive forest loss.”   

Gemma Hoskins, UK Climate Director at Mighty Earth said:  

Our hope is that by bringing together a wide-ranging collection of actors across the supply chain to see and to feel the impacts and the reality on the ground for those forests’ defenders on the front line of this crucial fight, organisations, Government, and business move our collective agenda forward through specific and urgent action. Suspending business with known forest destroyers is a positive step UK retailers can take immediately to stamp out deforestation from landing on our dinner plates.” 

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