Deforestation law welcome, but government must go further

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 25 August 2020

CORE COALITION UK: Deforestation law welcome, but government must go further

The CORE Coalition welcomes the government’s announcement that it will require UK companies to carry out due diligence on their supply chains – but the government must impose due diligence with legal liability for companies across all human rights and environmental harms.

CORE Coalition Director Mark Dearn said: “UK imports of commodities associated with illegal deforestation are significant, and it’s vital we do much more to tackle this urgent issue associated with climate change and the protection of ecosystems, human rights abuses and the spread of diseases.

“But to be truly ‘world-leading’ the government must go beyond deforestation to develop a law covering all human rights and environmental abuses linked to British companies, ensuring that they are legally liable if they fail to prevent abuses.

“Next Spring, the EU plans to table legislation covering human rights and environmental abuses in the supply chains of all businesses operating in the bloc, regardless of where they are based – we need the government to step up with a similar commitment to deal with the harms caused by UK corporations around the world.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • The government has announced plans for a new law which would require firms to carry out due diligence on their supply chains for forest-risk commodities: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/world-leading-new-law-to-protectrainforests-and-clean-up-supply-chains
  • In May 2020 the European Commission announced that a new corporate due diligence law will be proposed in 2021: https://corporatejustice.org/news/16806-commissioner-reynders-announces-eu-corporate-due-diligence-legislation
  • A study by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law on the application of a ‘failure to prevent’ law modelled on the UK Bribery Act can be found here: https://www.biicl.org/publications/a-uk-failure-to-prevent-mechanismfor-corporate-human-rights-harms

For more information, please contact Louise Eldridge or Mark Dearn:
• louise.eldridge@corporate-responsibility.org
• mark.dearn@corporate-responsibility.org