UK businesses will have to show that their products and supply lines are free from illegal deforestation, under government proposals currently under consultation.
The proposed law would require larger companies operating in the UK to show where commodities such as cocoa, soy, rubber and palm oil originated from.
It would be illegal to use products that fail to comply with laws to protect nature in those origin nations.
There has been growing dissatisfaction among consumers about products that are connected to illegal deforestation, especially in the Amazon. According to a new survey from environmental group, WWF, 67% of British consumers want the government to do more to tackle the issue. Some 81% of respondents in the survey said there should be greater transparency about the origins of products that are imported into the UK.
Fuelling these concerns are reports showing that deforestation in the Amazon has increased sharply this year. The felling of trees and the clearing of land, usually for agriculture, is responsible for 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions - the vast majority being illegal.
Companies would have to ensure that commodities such as palm and soy were produced in line with local laws protecting forests and other natural ecosystems. Businesses would have to publish information showing the origins of products or face fines.
MD Safety expects that, as momentum increases around this issue, once the larger food businesses have set out on the road to compliance and transparency they will expect the same of their suppliers.
As a result MD Safety expects that smaller UK businesses will then be under pressure to provide evidence of the legitimacy of their own supply chains. This would likely to be included in ISO14001 systems and Pre Qualification processes. Expect to see questions regarding the specific arrangements within your Environment and Sustainability Policy.