MPs and peers urge government to remove deforestation from supermarket shelves without delay

Environment APPG Chair Trudy Harrison and Vice Chairs Olivia Blake, Wera Hobhouse and Natalie Bennett, along with APPG supporters, wrote to Environment Secretary Steve Barclay to call for forest risk commodities legislation to be laid as soon as possible.

Rules that would remove deforestation from supermarket shelves must go ahead without further delay, say a cross-party group of MPs and peers.

It has been more than two years since the government said it ensure the supply chains of large companies, like supermarkets, were not linked to illegal deforestation by creating a due diligence regime.

Yet the much-anticipated legislation needed to enact this has not been published. In that time, the UK economy has contributed to the loss of forests almost twice the size of Paris.

The group of parliamentarians calling for urgent action - coordinated by the Environment APPG - includes former Environment Minister Trudy Harrison and former Shadow Nature Ministers Olivia Blake MP and Alex Sobel MP. Liberal Democrat climate spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP and Green MP Caroline Lucas have also signed.

Beef, leather, cocoa, palm and soy – described as forest risk commodities and known to drive 90 per cent of deforestation - will be covered by the rules, which were included in the Environment Act passed in 2021. The Environmental Improvement Plan recommitted to these rules in 2023 and the policy was reannounced at COP28 last November.

However, secondary legislation is needed to put the law into practise, without which forests around the world are endangered by purchases made in the UK, including in the Amazon.

Across the world, forests are collectively home to 80 per cent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and support the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people.

Trudy Harrison MP, Chair of the Environment APPG, said: “The lack of forest risk commodities protections poses an existential threat to forests around the world. The UK showed global leadership at COP26 when it led a landmark global pledge to end deforestation. To build on this legacy, this legislation must pass as soon as possible.”

The Environment APPG's letter to the Environment Secretary can be read via the attachment below