A new law that would fine UK companies for using products in their supply chains that have been grown through illegal deforestation is being considered by the government.
The proposed new legislation, which will soon be put through a consultation phase, would see companies forced to show that products in their supply chain – like cocoa, rubber, soy and palm oil – had been produced in line with local laws.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is due to host the United Nations’ climate summit in November 2021, has promised to “build back greener” from the coronavirus pandemic which caused its economy to shrink by a fifth in the second quarter.
Environment minister Zac Goldsmith said the new law would help halt the destruction of rainforests and ensure agricultural products are instead produced elsewhere.
It has not been revealed what fines companies would face for non compliance with the law.
“There is a hugely important connection between the products we buy and their wider environmental footprint, which is why the government is consulting today on new measures,” Goldsmith said.
Goldsmith spoke last month at a World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) event where he said that the UK had to stop importing from countries that allow deforestation.
In a video conference speech he vowed to “clean up” the UK’s supply chain and ban products made through illegal deforestation, according to the Telegraph.
“We depend all of us completely on the world around us, and yet their [the trees of the rainforests] value barely registers, the Amazon today is worth more dead than it is alive, and the financial incentives to strip it outweigh it by 40 to one,” he said.