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McDonald’s And Other Food Firms Urge UK Govt For Tougher Rules On Deforestation

McDonald’s And Other Food Firms Urge UK Govt For Tougher Rules On Deforestation
The United Kingdom government is being urged by food firm in the country to strengthen rules aimed at protecting rainforests.  
A new law that aims to prevent big companies from using produce from illegally deforested land is being planned by the UK government.
The companies however have claimed that the law should be applicable to all types of deforestations – both legal as well as illegal. This is because the impact of deforestation on the climate, and on nature, does not change with deforestation being legal or illegal.
A letter has been written by the companies to the government on the last day of the consultation on forest protection.
"Restricting action to illegal deforestation would not achieve halting the loss of natural ecosystems, especially when governments have discretion to decide what is legal," the letter says.
Unilever, Tesco, Lidl, Nando's, Nestle, the convenience food maker Greencore and the chicken producer Pilgrim's Pride are part of the 21 signatories of the letter.
The current plan of the government under the law is to target on the major companies like those who signed the letter. But these companies say that such a measure will allow medium sized firms to continue importing large amounts of commodities from previously forested land.
The companies who are signatories to the letter are therefore calling for a level playing field in which he smaller companies will not have an undue competitive advantage.
Many environmental campaigners see the letter as something of a breakthrough. The campaigners have for long clamored that it is of no use for the UK to take measures to protect only its own landscape but instead needs to consider all the ingredients that have contributed to environmental destruction abroad such as beef, cocoa, soy, rubber and palm oil.
"The proposed legislation would continue to allow rampant deforestation in hotspots such as Indonesia and Brazil (where much of the deforestation is legal). With the Amazon in flames and forests being cut down at an alarming rate, Nature doesn't recognise the difference between legal and illegal deforestation,” said Robin Willoughby, from the green group Mighty Earth.
While agreeing that other ecosystems should not be damaged by the expansion of agriculture, a government spokesperson promised that the government and the ministers would also consider the methods for avoiding this "displacement" effect.
The obvious place to begin was tackling illegal forest-felling, the spokesperson said. "Our proposed approach is designed to tackle illegal deforestation which accounts for nearly 50% of deforestation globally, but nearer 90% in key biomes, including part of the Amazon. Were existing forest laws in Brazil to be properly enforced, experts believe that forest cover would increase by 10%," she told the media.
"We welcome efforts the government has made so far to tackle deforestation. But current plans won't do enough to protect fragile ecosystems. We need comprehensive reporting up and down the supply chain, alongside incentives for suppliers who move towards more environmentally-responsible production,” said Chris Brown, Sustainable Sourcing Director at Asda.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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