The Amazon is under unprecedented attack. Agricultural expansion is once again driving burning. 2021 has seen some of the worst fires in history, with potentially catastrophic consequences for the integrity of the Amazon biome and the survival of its Indigenous Peoples. In Brazil, the Congress is currently considering new legislation that would legalise illegal land grabbing in the Amazon.

The destruction of the Amazon has dire implications for global efforts to avoid dangerous climate change but there is much the UK can still do. On World Amazon Day, we are writing to you as a coalition of NGOs, Indigenous Peoples’ groups, scientists, and academics, to ask that your Government take urgent action.

In the Environment Bill, your government has proposed a legal framework to address the overseas deforestation footprint of the UK’s consumption of ‘forest risk commodities’ such as soy, beef, palm oil, cocoa, coffee and rubber. While a welcome step forward, this proposal has several major gaps that limit its potential, and does not align with the recommendations set out by the Global Resource Initiative.

We call on the Government to amend the Environment Bill to strengthen its proposal on due diligence requirements for forest risk commodities by:

  • ensuring that UK forest risk commodity supply chains are not complicit in any form of deforestation – not just deforestation which is defined as illegal under producer country laws;
  • addressing the role of UK finance in deforestation;
  • ensuring UK businesses act in accordance with the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities as set out under international law;
  • strengthening the review mechanism to ensure that the due diligence framework, its implementation, and enforcement are progressively improved;
  • adopting a requirement to introduce a target to significantly reduce the UK’s global environmental footprint by 2030.

(See annex for more detail)

Halting agricultural expansion into the world’s remaining forests and natural ecosystems is essential to meet the 1.5°C climate target, as well as to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. As the IPCC’s recent report makes clear, we are running out of time to prevent irreversible and dangerous climate change. This makes it even more important that world governments act now. Ahead of the UN climate conference in November, we need urgent action, not just warm words.

As President of COP26 and host of the conference, the UK has a unique opportunity to demonstrate global leadership and play an exceptionally important role in setting the global environmental agenda. The UK can also have a big impact as a major consumer and financier of forest risk commodities.

Given the dangerous legal reforms being pushed through the Brazilian Parliament and their dire implications for the future of the Amazon and its Indigenous Peoples, it is imperative that the UK Government reassesses its current approach and takes the bold action necessary. We are calling on your Government to make use of its world-leading position and take action to protect the Amazon and other climate-critical forests around the world.


  1. Christine Allen, Director, CAFOD
  2. Amigos da Terra - Amazônia Brasileira
  3. Articulação Rosalino Gomes de Povos e Comunidades Tradicionais do Norte de Minas
  4. Sue Branford, Editor, Latin America Bureau
  5. Dr Josh Brem-Wilson, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University, UK.
  6. Pedro Bruzzi Lion, Executive Superintendent, Fundação Pró Natureza - Funatura
  7. Abi Bunker, Woodland Trust
  8. Mercedes Bustamante, The Brazilian Science and Society Coalition
  9. Dr. Robert Coates, Assistant Professor | Sociology of Development and Change (SDC) group, Wageningen University, Netherlands
  10. Anna Collins, Coordinator, UK NGO Forest Coalition
  11. Barbara Davies-Quy, Deputy Director, Size of Wales
  12. Mike Davis, CEO, Global Witness
  13. Mark Dearn, Director, Corporate Justice Coalition
  14. Maria do Socorro Teixeira Lima and Kátia Favilla, Rede Cerrado
  15. Faith Doherty, Forests Campaign Leader, Environmental Investigation Agency
  16. Maiara Folly, Co-founder and Programme Director of Plataforma CIPÓ
  17. Michael Gidney, Chief Executive, Fairtrade Foundation
  18. Tom Griffiths, Coordinator – Responsible Finance Programme, Forest Peoples Programme
  19. Antonio Guerreiro, Departamento de Antropologia, IFCH CPEI - Centro de Pesquisa em Etnologia Indígena, Universidade Estadual de Campinas
  20. Nick Hesterberg, Executive Director, Environmental Defender Law Center
  21. Liz Hosken, Director, The Gaia Foundation
  22. Instituto Centro da Vida (ICV), Brazil
  23. Rodrigo Junqueira , Executive Secretary, Instituto Socioambiental
  24. Dr Anna Laing, Lecturer in International Development (Geography), University of Sussex
  25. Matt Leggett, Associate Director, Wildlife Conservation Society
  26. Dr Jerome Lewis, Director, Centre for the Anthropology of Sustainability (CAoS), University College London
  27. Professor Simon Lewis, Chair of Global Change Science, University College London
  28. Gustavo B. Malacco, Associação para a Gestão Socioambiental do Triângulo Mineiro (Angá)
  29. Professor Mark Maslin FRGS FRSA, Department of Geography, UCL
  30. Niki Mardas Executive Director, Global Canopy
  31. Dr Georgina McAllister, Asst. Prof. in Stabilisation Agriculture, Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience, Coventry University
  32. Carina Millstone, Executive Director, Feedback
  33. Dr. Nina Isabella Moeller, Associate Professor of Political Ecology and People's Knowledge, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR), Coventry University
  34. Hannah Mowat, Campaigns Coordinator, Fern
  35. Observatorio do Clima, Brazil
  36. Lucia Ortiz, President, Amigos da Terra Brazil
  37. Professor Oliver Phillips FRS, Chair in Tropical Ecology, University of Leeds
  38. Silvia Quiroa, Amigos de la Tierra América Latina y el Caribe (ATALC) Executive Committee
  39. Mark Rose, Chief Executive Officer, Fauna & Flora International
  40. 40. Yuri Salmona, Instituto Cerrados
  41. John Sauven, Greenpeace
  42. Maria Marlene Soares Nunes, President; and Avilmaura Ferreira dos Santos, First Treasurer; Núcleo Gestor da Cadeia Produtiva do Pequi e Outros Frutos do Cerrado (Núcleo do Pequi)
  43. Richard Solly, Co-ordinator, London Mining Network
  44. Beccy Speight, CEO, RSPB
  45. Tanya Steele, Chief Executive, WWF
  46. Heather Stevens, Chair of Trustees, Waterloo Foundation
  47. James Thornton, CEO, Client Earth
  48. Steve Trent, CEO, Environmental Justice Foundation
  49. Miriam Turner and Hugh Knowles – Co-Executive Directors, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  50. Hein van der Voort, Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belém, Brazil
  51. Barbara Van Dyck, Associate Professor, Coventry University
  52. Fábio Vaz, Instituto Sociedade, População e Natureza (ISPN)
  53. Professor Peter Wade, Social Anthropology, University of Manchester

Preview image credit: Eduardo Martino / Panos