People around the world have watched with increasing horror as Amazon forest destruction has accelerated in recent years. Now, U.K. officials have proposed a law to make large companies operating within the U.K. comply with environmental laws and show where their products originate.
The new law would cover soy, rubber, cocoa, palm oil and other commodities. According to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) survey, 67% of British consumers want more government oversight on companies, and 81% think businesses should be more transparent about product origin.
“This consultation is a welcome first step in the fight to tackle the loss of our planet’s irreplaceable natural wonders such as the Amazon and in the pursuit of supply chains free from products that contribute to deforestation,” said Ruth Chambers from the Greener UK coalition.
Additionally, this law could require businesses to publish purchasing details for commodities like soy and palm oil, to prove the resources were produced following local laws protecting natural ecosystems. Failure to do so would incur fines. Critics say the plan needs ironing out, especially regarding details on penalties.
Though delayed, the COP26 climate conference will occur in Glasgow in 2021. In the meantime, the U.K. works to show international leadership on environmental and climate concerns, including deforestation.
About 10% of the world’s known species make their home in the Amazon, which is the largest rainforest and river basin in the world. Already 20% of the Amazon biome has disappeared, and matters are getting worse. At the current rate of deforestation, WWF estimates that more than a quarter of the Amazon biome will be treeless by 2030.
The new U.K. law remains in the planning stage. Emphasizing the law’s significance, Chambers said, “The evidence linking deforestation with climate change, biodiversity loss and the spread of zoonotic diseases is compelling. A new law is an important part of the solution and is urgently needed.”
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