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New plans to clean up the UK’s supply chains to help protect forests announced

Plans to clean up the UK’s supply chains to tackle illegal deforestation were stepped up today as the government launched a consultation on how to implement new measures in the Environment Act.

Demonstrating the UK’s commitment to go further than ever before to clamp down on illegal deforestation, the consultation will help shape plans requiring due diligence from businesses to ensure they are using commodities produced in line with relevant local laws.

The measures will make it illegal for larger businesses in the UK to use commodities whose production is associated with large-scale forest loss such as cocoa, beef, soy, coffee, maize and palm oil, where they have not been produced in line with relevant local laws.

Businesses will be also required to undertake due diligence to show that they have taken action to ensure this is the case, and report on this annually.

Launching the consultation, International Environment Minister, Lord Goldsmith, said: “Our forests not only have a vital role in cooling the planet, they are a source of clean air and water, home to indigenous communities and some of the most precious biodiversity on Earth – protecting them is essential to our survival. Now the Environment Act has passed into law, we have the opportunity to shape these due diligence measures so we are effectively tackling key drivers of deforestation. Alongside introducing these world leading measures, we intend to ensure the global coalition that we brought together last month under the UK presidency at COP26 to commit to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030 becomes reality.”