Knowledge for better food systems

Improving the sustainability of UK commodity imports

This report from the Global Resource Initiative Taskforce, commissioned by the UK government, looks at how the UK can reduce the climate and environmental impacts related to its import and consumption of beef and leather, cocoa, palm oil, pulp and paper, rubber, soya and timber. 

The report’s recommendations fall into four categories:

  • Setting out a strategic pathway for the UK, e.g. by setting legally binding targets to end deforestation within UK agriculture and forestry supply chains, and by publishing and delivering a Strategic Sustainable Commodity Action Plan.
  • Driving market demand for sustainable commodities, e.g. by strengthening sustainability requirements in public procurement and by introducing mandatory due diligence for companies that sell commodities linked to deforestation.
  • Aligning collective global action to deliver at scale and pace, e.g. by introducing a sustainable commodity import guarantee scheme to make financing sustainable production cheaper.
  • Accelerating change and tracking progress, e.g. by supporting the scaling and commercialisation of technologies and innovations that can help supply chains become more sustainable.

Read the full report, Global Resource Initiative Taskforce: Final recommendations report 2020, here. See also the Foodsource building block Soy: food, feed, and land use change.

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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