Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Finance

UK financiers responsible for rainforest loss, says WWF

UK financiers

WWF urged the government to create a framework to ensure that UK funders are not contributing to deforestation elsewhere as the country strives to achieve net zero emissions by 2050

UK financiers are directly responsible for rainforest devastation, says WWF. According to the group, 300 UK-based financiers are contributing £40 billion in direct funding to enterprises that threaten the survival of Brazilian and Indonesian rainforests.

The group has urged the government to ensure that UK banks and other financial institutions do not contribute to global deforestation.

The money comes from both investments and loans, according to WWF.

Many of the businesses are involved in the production of agricultural commodities such as beef, palm oil, soy, and cocoa, all of which pose a threat to rainforests.

Timber, paper, and rubber are some common crops that are contributing to the degradation of environment in some of the world’s most diversified areas.

One of the biggest risks to our climate, animals, and local people who rely on forests for their livelihoods is deforestation, said Karen Ellis, Director of Sustainable Economy WWF-UK.

Every hectare of rainforest lost makes it more difficult to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, as set out in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Regrettably, UK investments in forest-risk commodities have not decreased considerably since then, she said.

There are presently no rules in place in the UK that compel products to be sourced from sustainable sources.

Any such initiatives are voluntary, according to WWF, leaving the UK’s supply networks vulnerable to deforestation. It urged the government to create a framework to ensure that UK funders are not contributing to deforestation elsewhere as the country strives to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The charity claims that voluntary contributions are insufficient.

The UK Government promised to safeguard forests and address the effects of financial decision-making on nature loss – we won’t forget if they break that promise, Ms Ellis added. The Environment Bill will mandate due diligence inspections for corporations trading in palm oil, soy, and other forest-risk commodities.

She said: This must also apply to companies that finance forest-risk commodities, as voluntary measures are plainly not providing the protection that forests require.

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