26 January 2021
For immediate release
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‘Overwhelming’ public support for new legal targets to tackle deforestation in UK supply chains
WWF calls on UK Government to use the Environment Bill to help stop the destruction of nature at home and abroad
- 68% of British public want target date set in law for removing deforestation from UK supply chains – new YouGov survey for WWF reveals.
- WWF is calling on the UK Government to adopt a legally binding target as it develops new Ethical Sourcing Tool for businesses.
New figures have revealed “overwhelming” public support for tackling deforestation in UK supply chains. A recent YouGov survey commissioned by WWF showed more than two thirds (68%) of respondents supported setting a target date in law to eradicate all deforestation from UK supply chains, with just 4% opposed to such a move.
In addition, over three quarters of people (77%) said they do not want the products they buy to contribute to deforestation abroad.
WWF is calling on the UK Government to strengthen due diligence clauses in the Environment Bill – to be debated in the House of Commons today [Tuesday 26 January] – and establish a legally-binding target to eliminate deforestation and conversion in UK supply chains by the end of 2023. WWF is also calling for the Environment Bill to include a target to halve the UK’s global footprint (from all consumption and production) by 2030.
Kate Norgrove, Executive Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at WWF, said:
“Nature is in freefall and our climate is in crisis. Protecting and restoring precious forests like the Amazon is critical to tackling this global emergency. Our poll shows an overwhelming majority of people in the UK want to stop the things they buy and the food they eat from causing deforestation overseas, and the UK Government has a duty to respond.
“WWF is urging our leaders to improve the Environment Bill by adopting a new, legally-binding target to make UK supply chains deforestation-free by 2023. Only then can we hold our heads high as hosts of the global climate conference in Glasgow later this year.”
WWF’s Deforestation Fronts report, released earlier this month, found that an area of forest totalling 43 million hectares – almost double the size of the UK – across key global hotspots was wiped out in just 13 years. Commercial agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, with areas cleared to create space for livestock and to grow crops, such as soy for animal feed in the UK.
As well as calling on the Government to act, WWF is highlighting the role businesses can play in combatting deforestation. According to the YouGov survey, more than a third of people in Britain (35%) believe businesses are primarily responsible for ensuring that goods sold in the UK do not support the destruction of nature overseas.
To help businesses eradicate deforestation from their supply chains, WWF is developing an Ethical Sourcing Tool aimed at brands, manufacturers, retailers and the food service industry. The tool supports companies on their journey to eliminate deforestation, conversion and human rights violations from their supply chains, and helps companies to assess their alignment with the Accountability Framework. It then offers advice on how to set and implement robust commitments and targets and report on their progress.
Companies that source and sell commodities – including embedded commodities – such as soy, palm oil, beef and leather, cocoa, timber, rubber, pulp and paper are encouraged to use it.