McDonald’s, Tesco and Waitrose are among 21 companies calling on the Government to strengthen regulation over deforestation in the supply chain. Under new plans, companies operating in the UK would have to prove their supply chains are free from illegal deforestation. Larger companies would be required to show where commodities such as cocoa, soy, rubber and palm oil originated from. But companies who rely on these supply chains say the proposals do not go far enough because they limit regulation to deforestation considered illegal under local laws. A letter from major food businesses including Moy Park, and Pilgrim’s Pride, two of the biggest chicken and pork producers in the country, was sent to the Environment Secretary on Monday as the consultation on the proposed new legislation comes to an end. The letter states “We applaud the effort of the Government to bring forward legislation that will create a level playing field. “This is a step forward, but it’s not currently envisioned to be enough to halt deforestation and we encourage the Government to go further to embrace requirements that will address this issue.” The new legislation comes amid growing consumer pressure over deforestation. A survey from WWF showed 67 per cent of British consumers would like the Government to do more to tackle the problem, and 81 per cent want greater transparency on imports. Tesco has been the subject of specific campaigns from Greenpeace calling on it to cut its ties to the world’s biggest meat manufacturer, JBS, over links to deforestation in Brazil. Some 5 million hectares of forest are lost every year to industrial agriculture, according to a 2018 study. Around 17 per cent of the Amazon has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly to conversion for cattle ranching. But companies involved in these supply chains say the limiting regulation to UK operators means they are unable to carry out due diligence on traders further down the chain. "We welcome efforts the government has made so far to tackle deforestation. Current plans will not do enough to protect the fragile ecosystems that will reduce the risk of catastrophic climate change,” Chris Brown, Sustainable Sourcing Director at Asda, who also signed the letter, said. “We can’t solve this problem on our own and we need legislation that ensures comprehensive and standardised reporting up and down the supply chain, alongside incentives for suppliers who move towards more environmentally-responsible production."