Deforestation: UK consumer habits are putting ‘enormous pressure’ on forests

UK consumer habits for soy, cocoa, palm oil, beef and leather are putting “enormous pressure on forests”, says new report from the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC).

The EAC is urging the government to develop a Global Footprint Indicator to demonstrate the impact of consumerism on deforestation to the public, with a target to reduce the country’s impact.

EAC committee chair Philip Dunne acknowledged that while globally, countries contribute to deforestation and the international community “needs to do more”, statistics from the UK should serve as a “wake-up call” to the government.

“The intensity of UK consumption of forest-risk commodities is higher than that of China,” Dunne said.

“To demonstrate genuine global leadership in this critical area, the UK must demonstrate domestic policy progress, and embed environmental and biodiversity protections in future trade deals,” he added.

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The EAC is “pleased to see” the government putting stricter rules on supermarket products causing deforestation.

Dune warned however that the government still needs to take “tangible steps to turn the dial at home”.

“The government’s ambition and stated commitment at Cop26 to halt deforestation by 2030 was very welcome: but it is not on track now,” Dunne added.

“Its legislation for a regime to require certain products to be certified as ‘sustainable’ before they can be sold in UK markets was welcome: but the implementing legislation has still not come forward.

“There is little sense of urgency about getting a rapid grip on the problem of deforestation, which needs to match the rhetoric,” Dunne stated.

Climate crisisNature and the environmentNewsPolicy

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