California Assembly Approves Nation’s First Deforestation-Free Public Procurement Bill

Legislation to make California a leader in deterring tropical deforestation advances to State Senate

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Assembly voted to approve the nation’s first bill designed to require that public purchasing be free of rainforest destruction and associated biodiversity and human rights impacts.  The California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act, AB572, would require all companies contracting with California in the provision of products potentially linked to tropical forest destruction to demonstrate “deforestation-free” supply chains. The primary products affected will be those derived from “forest-risk commodities” including palm oil, soy, cattle, rubber, paper/pulp, and timber.

The bill was introduced by Assembly Member Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and co-authored by Assembly Members Eloise Reyes, Eduardo Garcia, and Richard Bloom, and passed the Assembly with 58 members in favor and only 17 against.

“We can’t say we’re a pro-environment state if we contribute to rainforests destruction around the world,” said Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose). “California must have no part in purchasing commodities and products that contribute to deforestation, and I want to thank my colleagues for standing with me to protect these fragile ecosystems and the indigenous communities and animals that live in them.”

Tropical forests harbor close to half of the earth’s species and provide home, food, medicine and livelihood to a billion of the world’s people. But 18 million acres of forest, an area 1/5 the size of California, is lost every year, largely due to industrial plantation agriculture, making tropical deforestation the third largest source of carbon emissions globally.

“As the fifth largest economy in the world, California has a responsibility to reduce our global footprint,” said Jeff Conant, Senior International Forests Program Manager for Friends of the Earth. “The loss of tropical forests is an immense and growing problem that we must address urgently if we want to stop the worst of the climate crisis. We are extremely grateful to the state Assembly for supporting a precedent-setting policy with truly global implications.”

Over the past decade, hundreds of major consumer brands and commodity traders – many of whom do business with California – have adopted corporate policies committing them to address deforestation in their supply chains. AB572 will take the next step and put voluntary commitments into law, creating a level playing field for business and a mandate for sustainable production.

Having passed out of the California Assembly, the bill now moves to the state Senate.

Expert contact: Jeff Conant, (510) 900-0016, jconant@foe.org
Communications contact: Erin Jensen, (202) 222-0722, ejensen@foe.org

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