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On International Day of Forests, Legislative Champions, Advocates Reintroduce New York Deforestation-Free Procurement Act

Companion Bill Would Create Supply Chain Transparency Assistance Program To Help Small Businesses


ALBANY, NY - March 21, 2022 ( Newswire) Today, on International Day of Forests, State Senator Liz Krueger and Assembly Member Kenneth Zebrowski launched a renewed push to pass the New York Deforestation-Free Procurement Act. The bill would ensure New York State government procurement practices do not drive deforestation or intact forest degradation in tropical and boreal forests.

The lawmakers also introduced a companion bill to create a Supply Chain Transparency Assistance Program within Empire State Development.

The Deforestation-Free Procurement Act will tighten an existing state ban on the use of tropical hardwoods for government projects and create a new statute requiring state contractors who deal in forest-risk commodities to certify that their products don't drive deforestation. Key forest-risk commodities covered by the law include soy, beef, palm oil, coffee, and wood products, with cocoa and rubber to be considered subsequently.

The legislation is supported by over 70 NGOs including Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Environment America, Environmental Advocates NY, Natural Resources Defense Council and National Wildlife Federation, as well as investment firms that collectively represent over $1.5 trillion dollars in assets under management.

"Overconsumption and corporate irresponsibility have driven our global forests and their local and Indigenous defenders to the brink," said Jeff Conant, Senior International Forests Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. "The New York Deforestation-Free Procurement Act is precisely the kind of visionary, achievable approach that would stem the crisis at the root, and it needs all of our support."

Passing this bill would place New York at the forefront of a global political and marketplace push to curtail forest loss. Other jurisdictions including the European Union and California are considering similar legislation, and the federal FOREST Act, a bill to ban imports linked to illegal deforestation, was introduced in the U.S. Congress last year.

"We can no longer afford to sacrifice our climate-critical forests, from the tropics to the boreal, to destructive, unjust, and unnecessary supply chain practices," said Jennifer Skene, Natural Climate Solutions Policy Manager at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). "New York's bill is a vital step toward a truly global framework for the protection of forests and Indigenous rights and aligning our markets with a just and sustainable future."

An estimated 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions comes from deforestation and forest degradation. Boreal forests represent about 30 percent of the global forest area and store more carbon than all fossil fuel reserves combined. Tropical forests harbor almost 50 percent of all species on Earth and human activity is causing them to go extinct at a rate at least 100 to 1,000 times higher than historical levels.

Globally, an estimated 18 million acres of forest, roughly the size of New York State, are lost every year according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, with over half of Earth's tropical forests already gone. At the current pace, all of Earth's tropical rainforests will be degraded or destroyed within the next 100 years.

While the Deforestation-Free Procurement Act would insulate New York State purchasing from forest destruction, the proposed Supply Chain Transparency Assistance Program would help New York-based small and medium-sized businesses and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) achieve more ethical and sustainable supply chains and compete in the national and global marketplace.

See the press release issued by Senator Krueger, here.

Supporters of the NY Deforestation-Free Procurement Act include (a partial list):

More Info: Newswire

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