The UK Government is considering the introduction of a new law which would see businesses hit with fines for contributing to illegal deforestation around the world.
It has launched a new consultation to explore whether it should introduce new regulations to prevent forests and other natural areas from being illegally converted into agricultural lands – the government says the move would require a “relatively small number of larger businesses” to ensure that the ‘forest risk’ commodities they use have been produced legally.
It suggests a large proportion of forest clearance that is carried out to produce agricultural commodities around the world currently is not considered legal and stresses this must change in order to ensure the coronavirus recovery period is used to build a “greener, fairer and more resilient global economy”.
The announcement notes: “Our proposal would make it illegal for larger businesses to use forest risk commodities that have not been produced in accordance with relevant local laws and they would need to take steps to show that they have taken proportionate action to ensure this is the case.”
Those who do not comply would be subject to fines.