The UK government has announced new legislation to ensure supermarkets remove products linked to illegal deforestation from their shelves.

The proposed UK deforestation due diligence legislation will cover essential products such as palm oil, cocoa, beef, leather and soy.

UK Environment Secretary Steve Barclay briefed on how the law will remove products linked to illegal deforestation from supermarket shelves on COP28’s Nature Day (9 December, 2023).

Under the new law, businesses with a greater than £50m global annual turnover and that use more than 500t of regulated commodities annually will be prohibited from using products grown on land linked to illegal deforestation.

Businesses will undertake an annual due diligence exercise on their supply chains.

The legislation was introduced through the Environment Act, representing a step change from voluntary approaches already in place.

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By GlobalData

The move will safeguard the habitats of endangered species including tigers and leopards.

It also gives assurance to shoppers that they are not contributing to deforestation with the goods they purchase.

Steve Barclay stated: “I find it heart-rending to see the way illegal deforestation is destroying the habitats of tigers, jaguars, orangutans and many other endangered species, and I know many people across the world feel the same. Globally, we lose forests equivalent to the size of about 30 football pitches every minute.

“It’s why we are cleaning up supply chains to make sure that big businesses in the UK aren’t responsible for illegal deforestation. It also means shoppers can be confident that the money they spend is part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

“Through our work at COP28 on forests, food and nature, we are reversing the loss of biodiversity, increasing food security and tackling climate change – safeguarding these critically important landscapes for generations to come.”