The government has published its summary of responses to the public consultation re: implementing due diligence provisions on forest risk commodities in the Environment Act.
The summary of responses shows overwhelming support for the government to take ambitious and urgent action on the UK’s deforestation footprint abroad. Based on the figures and data provided:
More than 99% of respondents called for the government to be more ambitious in its proposals, regulating more commodities more rapidly, and saving more forests, than any of the options offered by the government in its consultation.
More than 99% of respondents called on the government to regulate soya, palm oil, cattle (beef and leather), cocoa and rubber from Day 1 of the regulation coming into force. The vast majority also called on maize, pulp and paper, and nuts to be covered from the start.
See below for some background information about the consultation, and the provisions in the Environment Act. Also, for transparency and where we have permission from the authors, we will be publishing below NGO submissions to the consultation.
The UK Environment Act approved by Parliament last year includes provisions under its Schedule 17 to ban the use of commodities and derived products in UK commercial activities that are linked to illegal deforestation overseas.
Whilst this is a first step in regulating to stop deforestation in UK supply chains, the approach and scope is less ambitious than Coalition members, and the Global Resource Initiative Taskforce, had been calling for.
In December 2021, the government launched a consultation on how to implement these new regulations, ahead of drawing up secondary legislation which will contain the details of how the new law will work, including:
- which commodities will be in scope of regulations
- which businesses will be subject to provisions
- what businesses in scope will be required to undertake and report on regarding their due diligence exercise
- how the requirements will be enforced
The Consultation on implementing forest risk commodities
In order to support and encourage civil society and community groups in producer countries to engage with this consultation, the NGO Forest Coalition translated the official documents into French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, and Bahasa Indonesian. You can find links to these above.
Responses came from the UK and around the world, including forest rich countries. Business, civil society and government institutions fed in their views along with individuals.
The government report re: submissions received provides a summary and short analysis of responses received by question, dividing responses into e.g. organisation or individual / campaign or non-campaign.
The document reiterates the government’s commitment to implementing the Environment Act provisions at the earliest opportunity through secondary legislation, though with no time frame provided. There are no specifics included re: what will be in the secondary legislation, and the report indicates that the consultation responses will be taken into account in developing the legislation and accompanying guidance, and will be published in due course.
We will continue to follow this important work, sharing our analysis and data as appropriate and urging for ambitious secondary legislation.
Some civil society responses to the UK government's consultation
You can find the official DEFRA consultation letter and documents here