Defra’s proposed new law to curb deforestation is seriously flawed


Commenting on Defra’s proposals for new legislation to curb deforestation and clean up the UK’s food supply chains, Elena Polisano, forests campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: 

“Defra’s proposals to make it ‘illegal for larger businesses to use products unless they comply with local laws to protect natural areas’ is seriously flawed. We’ve all seen the way President Bolsonaro has championed the expansion of agriculture in Brazil at the expense of the Amazon rainforest. 

“There is also nothing in the proposals to address the fact that some commodity producers may have one ‘sustainable’ line but continue to destroy forests elsewhere. This just shifts the problem into someone else’s backyard.

“We will never solve deforestation for commodities like animal feed soya and palm oil without tackling demand. Companies like Tesco, who sell more meat and dairy and use more soya for animal feed than any other UK retailer, know what they need to do to reduce their deforestation footprint [1]. They must reduce the amount of meat and dairy they sell and drop forest destroyers from their supply chain immediately [2].”

“Proactively, the UK government and industry needs to support a just transition at home and in forest regions to food systems that work with nature, including the restoration of natural ecosystems.”

Defra’s consultation on the proposals runs until October 5.




Notes to editors: 

[1] Tesco CEO Dave Lewis in the FT: “The UK produces only half its food; we must ask tough questions about efficient land use. That means eating less meat and dairy, which use 70% of agricultural land and emit 14.5 per cent of greenhouse gases globally. We cannot do this without incentives for sustainable farming and a strategy to help livestock farmers diversify. Measures are needed to help people adopt more nutritious diets, from fruit and veg subsidies, to a focus on nutrition and diet in education.”

[2] The world’s biggest meat packer JBS controls UK companies Tulip and Moy Park that churn out masses of soya-reared pork and chicken to supply big food retail brands. One of their biggest customers is Tesco. See still Slaughtering the Amazon report:

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