Food multinationals say the UK government’s plan to end deforestation doesn’t go far enough, in a letter coinciding with the closing day of the consultation on forest protection.
The request for stronger legislation is made by 21 corporates including the nation’s largest supermarkets, along with Nestle, Mondelez, Hilton Food Group, Nandos, Unilever and McDonalds.
They say the loss of vital ecosystems is not necessary to feed the world’s growing population, acknowledging that more than half of tropical forests has been destroyed over the last 60 years, primarily due to agricultural expansion.
Legal as well as illegal deforestation needs to be addressed – as all primary forest lost is detrimental to the environment, it says.
“Our global forests are critical resources that require protection”
It describes the government’s proposal as “a step forward, but… not enough to halt deforestation and we encourage the Government to go further to embrace requirements that will address this issue.”
The letter confirms that in some landscapes 95% of deforestation has been illegal and asks the government to:
- Align the definition of “deforestation free” with what is needed to achieve Net Zero.
- Adopt thresholds that reflect the influence of the offending company.
- Enact legislation that obliges suppliers and traders to disclose the required supply chain information to their customers.
- Protect the vulnerable including smallholders, so that farmers are not inadvertently pushed into less responsible supply chains.
- Allow for restoration and remediation.
- Continue to consult and collaborate with the private sector.