Amendment 106

Part of Environment Bill - Report (4th Day) – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 15 September 2021.

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Photo of Lord Teverson Lord Teverson Chair, EU Environment Sub-Committee, Chair, EU Environment Sub-Committee 5:45, 15 September 2021

My Lords, I start by congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Randall, on his speech and his due diligence on this issue, which is crucial in terms of deforestation. We have the frustration whereby we want extraterritoriality, which we do not normally have in the UK, but we can influence some of these matters only through supply chains and our own British corporates. The United States seems to get away with extraterritoriality in relation to more or less everything. We do not have that privilege.

As regards this approach, I also like the reference to recognising indigenous people. It is clear and obvious that it is so much more effective to keep forests rather than start to regrow them. That is the other side of the coin, as it were, to the previous debate and perhaps is even more important. That is why these Benches are very much in favour of the system proposed—although one of the big challenges that we have faced regarding environmental regulation and the Bill is enforcement and making sure that the regulations that we make can operate and are policed. We have the FSC, the Forest Stewardship Council, which works okay but all of us know of instances of duplicity in the system—not in the work of the FSC itself but among those copying and wrongly branding products. That challenge remains, but that does not mean that we should not move ahead in these areas.

I want also to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Randall, on his pioneering work on the global footprint. We have mentioned a number of areas but the Dasgupta review, sponsored by the Treasury, again stressed that in terms of natural capital we are extracting far more than we are putting back into the planet. I suspect that the noble Lord is not expecting the Minister to accept the amendment but I hope that the Government will do further work in this area. I agree strongly with a point that the noble Lord made: if we can become the leader of standards in this area, it would be incredibly important.

Lastly, I come to the amendments of the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, on urgency. That is the word I hear from her and she is absolutely right. We have so little time in so many of these areas and here, through these amendments—which I hope the Government and the Minister will accept—we have an opportunity to wind up that urgency and start to make right what we need to do soon and so urgently.