All UK businesses now will have to prove that their products are not the reason for illegal deforestation. The new law proposed by the government requires all the businesses operating in the UK to show where their primary commodities come from, such as cocoa, rubber, palm oil, etc, and their country of origin. If the companies fail to comply with the law and furnish proving documents, their products will be termed illegal.
Critics and Public View
Many critics say the plan has lots of imperfections and is not transparent of the penalties. A large population of the UK showed their discontent with the products that are linked to illegal deforestation in the Amazon. WWF survey showed that 67% of British consumers expect their government to act on this issue as soon as possible. 81% of people also demanded greater transparency about the origin of all the products that are imported in the UK. Amazon fell victim to intense deforestation this year, which also produced 11% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. The indigenous population has been protesting in Brazil for a long time, but no concrete steps have been taken so far. Celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Zoe Kravitz, have been speaking about the issue. A large portion of this deforestation was found illegal.
The UK government took the step and address the issue with the introduction of the new law. The companies need to prove their products are in line with the new law and do not cause any damage to the natural ecosystems. International Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith said that the government recognizes the connection between the products and their global environmental footprint, and that is the reason why the government is consulting and planning the new law to make sure the UK does its part in stopping these illegal activities.
He also added that the UK will be hosting the UN Climate Change Conference in 2021, and they will lead the world into combating the climate crisis right now and ensure the conservation of biodiversity. Amazon faced record high forest fires this year, which destroyed a large portion of flora and fauna.
Ruth Chambers, of Greener UK Coalition, said that the consultation is the first step by the UK towards taking its part in the global fight against climate crisis and protection of natural wonders such as the Amazon forest. She added that there are shreds of evidence that climate change, the spread of zoonotic diseases, and biodiversity are all interlinked, and the data is extremely compelling. The new law is part of the solution that the government is planning.
Comment by Other Organizations
Greenpeace UK said that there is an urgent need for supermarkets, fast food chains, and retailers to make their supply chain and trade process fully transparent. The also demanded reduction in the number of high-risk products such as meat, dairy, palm oil, etc.
The UK government and the industries need to come up with a plan that not only meets the requirement of the local population but also makes sure the natural ecosystems and biodiversity are safe. The UK, which will host COP26 next year, is also under a lot of pressure to show that it is ready to lead the fight against climate change. The government in July committed £16m in funding to help environmentally friendly farming and forest conservation grow in the Amazon regions.
Author: Subhasri Banerjee
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