Whether you know it or not, your shopping habits can inadvertently play a role in environmental crimes such as illegal logging. In a quest to stop metaphorically “importing” the problem of deforestation, the government of the UK has passed new laws that should help prevent consumers from buying food grown on rainforest land that has been illegally logged.
Under the new law, UK firms will be banned from selling commodities if their production breaches local laws protecting forests and other natural areas. The commodities that are most often grown on land that has been illegally cleared includes cocoa, soya, palm oil, beef, leather, rubber, timber, pulp, and paper.
While the move has been welcomed by environmentalists, questions have been raised about how possible will it be to trace all the products being imported into the UK. There are also questions regarding how much the fines will be for breaching the new laws, and how the law will be enforced. With that said, the introduction of these new laws is a major step forward to helping prevent consumers from playing a role in an environmental crime through the goods in their supermarket shopping cart.
“In every conceivable way we depend on the natural world around us,” said International Environment Minister, Lord Goldsmith. “Protecting rainforests must be a core priority.”
Rainforests are home to much of the world’s biodiversity and play a key role in absorbing climate-heating emissions. Now that the UK makes a move to address the link between Western consumption and the illegal logging of rainforests, we hope to see the US follow suit.