New York Lawmakers and Environmental Advocates Urge Assembly to Stop Funding Climate DestructionAlfred Lahai Brownell, Sen. Krueger, Asm. Kenneth Zebrowski Press for Passage of The New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act
ALBANY, NY – Liberian Goldman Prize Winner, Alfred Lahai Gbabai Brownell Sr, joined lawmakers and advocates in Albany today to urge the New York Assembly to pass The New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act (S.4859/A.5682).
Sponsored by Sen. Liz Krueger (D-28) and Asm. Kenneth Zebrowski (D-96), the legislation ensures that state and local government procurement does not fund climate destruction—specifically tropical deforestation, tropical primary forest degradation or associated abuses of Indigenous Peoples and local tropical communities. More than 600,000 people across the world have signed a petition urging lawmakers to end state funding of tropical deforestation.
“Activists and advocates all across the world have been fighting to save their land from exploitation. Many have been beaten, jailed, or worse and I am here today to urge the New York Assembly to lend a hand and help indigenous people across the world by refusing to fund the destruction of our forests. There is no time to delay–every year millions of acres of tropical forests are destroyed,” said Human Rights and Environmental Lawyer and Activist Alfred Brownell. “The world is calling on New York to lead on climate and justice–the time to act is now!”
“Deforestation has a tremendous impact on climate change while destroying the homes of a vast number of species. New York can take a stand against this practice by closing loopholes that allow for the sale of tropical hardwood and not doing business with contractors that contribute to tropical deforestation. I’m proud to sponsor this bill in the Assembly and will continue to work with my colleagues to move this bill forward,” said Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski.
“The days are long past when New Yorkers can pretend that what goes on in another part of the world has no impact on us,” said Senator Liz Krueger. “The Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act will ensure that New York’s taxpayer dollars are not driving the tropical deforestation that contributes to the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and the plundering of Indigenous lands across the globe. It puts New York at the forefront of a global movement to end humanity’s self-destructive level of deforestation. At the same time, we can give New York businesses a leg up on the competition by helping them clean up their supply chains. It’s a win-win-win for people, planet, and New York’s economy.”
“For too long New York has supported climate destruction through the purchase of products that directly cause tropical deforestation. Deforestation not only destabilizes our climate, it endangers the species and Indigenous People that live there. What happens there affects us here. And the decisions we make here harm people and forests across the planet,” said Marcus Sibley, Northeast director of conservation partnerships for the National Wildlife Federation. “New York’s current procurement process undercuts the great work our state is doing as a leader on climate change, clean energy and justice.”
“New York can build on its climate leadership by becoming the first state in the country to use its purchasing power to halt the destruction of climate-critical forests and the corresponding epidemic of human rights abuses. This policy is both necessary and doable–the EU has already implemented a similar policy–and it will make a significant difference for the climate, for biodiversity, and for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights. People around the world are calling on the Assembly to act, today,” said Jeff Conant, International Forest Program Manager at Friends of the Earth.
“The New York State Council of Churches is in full support of A05682, the New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act. We know that care for the earth and care for our neighbors, especially those who are more and most vulnerable, go hand in hand,” said Reverend John Paarlberg, New York State Conference for Churches.
“Today we deliver a letter signed by 72 global investors with $2.5 trillion in assets under management supporting the passage of the NY Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement bill. This bill will not only ensure that NY procurement does not contribute to deforestation of tropical forests, but it would encourage meaningful corporate action on eliminating deforestation from supply chains,” said Mary Beth Gallagher, Director of Engagement at Domini Impact Investments. “This will have ripple effects, providing disclosures so investors can evaluate company progress in meeting deforestation commitments, with system wide economic and climate impacts.”
- Requires state contractors who deal in tropical forest-risk commodities to certify that their products don’t drive tropical deforestation or degradation or abuses of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, by providing data to the state and the public demonstrating supply chain due diligence to their products’ points of origin.
- Closes loopholes in existing 30-year-old state law banning the use of tropical hardwoods for government projects.
- Provides a bidding preference for small and medium-sized businesses, minority-and-women-owned businesses and businesses fulfilling state contracts using New York products.
- Creates a supply chain transparency assistance program to support New York-based small and medium-sized businesses and women and minority-owned enterprises to achieve ethical and sustainable supply chains for forest-risk products, administered by Empire State Development.
- Requires a minimum of two representatives from Indigenous tropical communities within the geographic areas to be part of a Stakeholder Advisory Group.
- Defines “tropical forest-risk commodities” to include soy, beef, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, wood pulp, paper and wood products. Other commodities may be added by the Commissioner of the Office of General Services.
Communications contact: Brittany Miller, Friends of the Earth, (202) 222-0746, [email protected]