On the 3 December 2021, the UK began a consultation on the prohibition of the use of "forest risk commodities" produced on land illegally occupied or used (the "Consultation").
The ban was introduced as part of the UK's Environment Act 2021 (the "Act") alongside new due diligence and corporate reporting obligations. Whilst the precise scope of the prohibition and new measures will be subject to the outcome of the Consultation, this legislation is characteristic of a growing number of ESG due diligence laws which may make it easier for organisations to be held accountable for ESG non-compliance within their supply chains. It is also part of a wider package of measures designed to improve the sustainability of supply chains and the environment.
What is a "forest risk commodity"?
Whilst the precise term is yet to be defined by secondary legislation (see "Commodities under scope" below), such commodities are generally considered to be goods and raw materials whose extraction or production contributes significantly to global tropical deforestation and degradation. Current proposed examples of this definition include cattle, cocoa, coffee, maize, palm oil, rubber and soy.