There has been national coverage of ‘Nature Day’ at COP28 in Dubai, at which Environment Secretary Steve Barclay set out his priorities for forests, food and nature.
This included further action to secure the future of the world’s forests – by making sure that supermarket essentials including palm oil, soy and cocoa have no link illegal deforestation. This was covered by The Telegraph, Bloomberg and the Sunday Express.
Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said:
I find it heart-rending to see the way illegal deforestation is destroying the habitats of tigers, jaguars, orangutans and many other endangered species, and I know many people across the world feel the same. Globally, we lose forests equivalent to the size of about 30 football pitches every minute.
It’s why we are cleaning up supply chains to make sure that big businesses in the UK aren’t responsible for illegal deforestation. It also means shoppers can be confident that the money they spend is part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
Through our work at COP28 on forests, food, and nature we are reversing the loss of biodiversity, increasing food security, and tackling climate change – safeguarding these critically important landscapes for generations to come.
Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said:
Halting the decline of the natural world isn’t just about saving rare species, it’s about safeguarding the web of life upon which humanity depends for our food, water and economic security. On the pathway to tackling climate change we must go high nature at the same time as low carbon, creating bigger, better and more joined up places for nature to thrive.
The commitments outlined today are welcome further steps toward UK environmental leadership, both at home and on the world stage. We look forward to supporting the government in delivering results through practical action on the ground
Tanya Steele, CEO of the WWF said:
Nearly eight million hectares of primary forest has been lost globally in the last two years alone, so this is an important first step to getting illegal deforestation off UK shopping shelves.
However illegal deforestation is only part of the picture – with wildlife numbers plummeting and wild habitats facing destruction, we must stop felling forests, full stop. Forests absorb 30% of the carbon we emit from burning fossil fuels, so nature is clearly our greatest ally in tackling climate change.
We haven’t a moment to lose to bring our world back to life and these measures must be implemented in Parliament as swiftly as possible.
Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said:
Retailers welcome the announcement on UK Deforestation Due Diligence legislation. This will give confidence to British retailers and their customers alike, helping retailers meet their ambitious targets on deforestation and enable a greater supply of deforestation-free products in the UK.
Tackling deforestation requires global cooperation and we look forward to seeing further detail as to how the legislation will align with European proposals.
The government also published a new map to show what areas could count in the delivery of “30by30” – the commitment to protect 30% of land for nature by 2030. It shows that 8.5% of land in England – including Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves – already count toward the target, with a further 26.8% of land having the potential to contribute in the future, including Protected Landscapes.The commitments set out by the government strengthens the UK’s leadership to address nature loss and tackle climate change, ensuring that the environment is protected for future generations.