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The UK Government has proposed a legal framework to address the global deforestation footprint of the UK’s consumption of forest risk commodities. This is a welcome step, as an area of land almost the size of the UK itself (and growing) is needed each year to produce only seven of the forest risk commodities consumed in the UK annually.
Halting the global loss of forests and other natural ecosystems is essential for tackling the climate and nature emergencies we all face. Protecting forests is essential to preserving the capacity of the natural world to sustain our economies and well-being, as well as protecting the human rights of the estimated 1.3 billion people who depend directly on forests for their livelihood.
We need nature to survive. Yet the demands we currently place on nature far exceed its capacity. Food production is the most significant driver of terrestrial biodiversity loss and commercial agriculture is the largest driver of deforestation and ecosystem conversion worldwide. The expansion of large-scale cattle ranches and plantations of soy and oil palms are the main drivers of deforestation in our precious remaining tropical rainforests.
Urgent and ambitious action is needed to restructure and align our global production and consumption patterns with what nature can provide on a sustainable basis.
The UK's proposed forest risk commodities framework, set out in Schedule 16 of the Environment Bill, needs improvement if it is to live up to the expectations of UK consumers and businesses and and deliver the ambitious action required to meaningfully address the UK's growing global deforestation footprint.
ClientEarth, together with a coalition of NGOs, have developed a joint briefing on the key improvements that should be made to Schedule 16 of the Environment Bill in order to make it the world-leading legal framework we all need.