California Assembly Introduces Bill to Make California a Leader in Ending Deforestation

Sacramento, CA — As the Biden administration ramps up federal efforts on climate and environmental protection, California legislators took things into their own hands today with the introduction of the California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act (AB 416). If passed, the bill would make California the first state in the nation to require that state procurement contracts do not contribute to tropical or boreal deforestation. 

“By introducing this bill, we’re giving California the opportunity to take real leadership in the fight against tropical and boreal deforestation and primary forest degradation by making our purchases – and our global impact – more transparent, more sustainable and more ethical,” said Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose).  “AB 416 asserts our California values and extends environmental leadership to the protection of tropical and boreal forests, sending a powerful signal to global markets that illegal and destructive commodity-driven deforestation will no longer be tolerated.”  

The proposed law would affect all state contracts involving products or commodities whose production puts tropical and primary boreal forests at risk. Under the new law, companies doing business with California must maintain No Deforestation policies and provide clear evidence that their supply chains or direct operations are not linked to deforestation or the abuse of indigenous peoples’ rights.   

Palm oil, soy, cattle, rubber, paper/pulp and timber are the products primarily driving global forest loss. The law includes all these forest-risk commodities, with a provision to expand the list of covered products and commodities periodically once the law takes effect. 

“The rapid loss of our global forests to agribusiness and overconsumption is a crisis of epic proportions. Now, California has the opportunity to use its purchasing power to tackle the root causes of forest destruction,” said Jeff Conant, Senior International Forests Program Manager at Friends of the Earth U.S. “This will be a precedent-setting policy with truly global implications.”  

The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), along with coauthors Assemblymembers Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), Alex Lee (D-San Jose), Laura Friedman (D-Glendale)Luz Rivas (D-Arleta), and Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), and Senators Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) Henry Stern (D-Los Angeles) and Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz). It is co-sponsored by Friends of the Earth, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Peace 4 Animals, and Social Compassion in Legislation.   

Regulation of deforestation in public procurement is under development in France, Norway, the EU and other jurisdictions, making California’s bill the latest effort in a global trend toward increased government regulation to stem the deforestation crisis  

For additional information or to contact the California legislature, see the Press Release issued today by CA Assembly Member Ash Kalra. [link: https://a27.asmdc.org/press-releases/20210204-assemblymember-kalra-introduces-bill-make-california-leader-ending] 

Expert contactJeff Conant, [email protected]
Communications contacts: 
Kaela Bamberger, Friends of the Earth U.S., [email protected]
Roseryn Bhudsabourg, Office of Assemblymember Ash Kalra, [email protected]

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