Global Leaders Urge NY Governor to Sign Deforestation-Free Law

Global Leaders Join New Yorkers in Urging Governor Hochul to Sign the “Most Substantial Climate Legislation” on Her Desk

The New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act Passed Both Chambers of Legislature Earlier This Year, Awaits Governor’s Signature

NEW YORK – Earlier today, leaders and advocates from around the world joined New Yorkers in calling on Governor Kathy Hochul to sign The New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act into law before the end of the year

The bill was passed with overwhelming, bipartisan majorities in both chambers of the New York legislature earlier this year. The bill’s lead sponsors, Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblymember Kenneth Zebrowski, both spoke at today’s press conference. 

“This is crunch time to make sure New York is solidly on the path to fight climate change with everything we’ve got,” said Senator Liz Krueger. “That means we can’t ignore the emissions we outsource to other countries through our consumer choices. State government must take the lead in ensuring our procurement dollars are not driving deforestation in our planet’s critical tropical forests, exacerbating the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and threatening the rights and lands of Indigenous peoples. 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, and the only thing we need now is the Governor’s signature.” 

“This legislation sends a strong message that New York will not contribute to the deforestation of tropical hardwoods,” said Assemblymember Kenneth Zebrowski. “As a major contributor to climate change and the destruction of natural habitats for animals, deforestation continues to have serious impacts on our planet. Officials and advocates from around the world continue to recognize the importance of this issue, and New York can be a leader by enacting this important legislation.” 

“This is the most substantial climate legislation awaiting action by the Governor and the most important pending deforestation measure we know of in the world,” said Vanessa Fajans-Turner, Executive Director, Environmental Advocates NY, who kicked off and emceed the press conference. “Will Governor Hochul lead New York and model the change our country must match to build a sustainable world? We know she can, and think she must.” 

The New York leaders were joined by a diplomat from the European Union, an indigenous leader from Brazil, and other leaders who joined the virtual press conference from Dubai, where they are presently attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28). They were also joined by leaders from the business community and faith leaders. 

The press conference follows multiple calls to the Governor to pass the legislation from dozens of groups including climate and justice organizations and business from across the state of New York

Additional quotes below: 

“The biggest paradigm shift in the last decade is the EU’s transition to a sustainable economy in mobility, agriculture, and our energy production. You can’t just do this at home–you have to alter your patterns of behavior outside. The climate and biodiversity crisis tells us every time it’s worse than we thought–and we’re all in the same boat. But you can’t continue to say ‘only your part is sinking.’ It’s coming quicker and quicker so we have to do something. If New York passes its own law, that means it has a head start over other states.” – Tony Agotha, EU Special Envoy for Climate & Environment

“We’re living through a big crisis that’s caused by the big corporations that destroy our territories and our ways of life. We need initiatives like this to protect all the biomes in the world and guarantee the survival of humanity. This bill needs to be approved so we indigenous people can continue to protect the biodiversity of the world. The world is looking at New York–other jurisdictions have already started to act on deforestation and environmental crimes. We don’t want any more nice words–we want concrete actions.” – Dinamam Tuxa, Coordinator of the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB)

“With this groundbreaking piece of legislation, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has the chance to lead the state, and the entire country, down a historic path towards climate justice. The legislation would hold businesses, big and small, accountable for their environmental practices, ensuring they do not contribute to tropical forest degradation and associated abuses of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, while also mobilizing resources to help smaller and women- and minority-owned companies make their supply chains greener and more resilient. The time we have left to mitigate that risk is running out; urgent action is needed at all levels.” – Jeff Conant, Senior International Forests Program Manager, Friends of the Earth U.S.

“After the Legislature, overwhelmingly and in a bi-partisan manner, passed the NY Tropical Deforestation Free Procurement Act, and dozens of NY businesses, 72 investors managing $2.5 trillion, over 50 environmental, religious, and community organizations have called on the Governor to sign this bill, time is running short for the Governor to do the right thing. We are so thankful for the leadership of our sponsors, Senator Kreuger and Assemblyman Zebrowski, and the whole coalition stands with them today and into the future to get the New York government to stop funding climate destruction.”– Curtis Fisher, Northeast Regional Executive Director, National Wildlife Federation

“This bill will strengthen New York’s economy. By encouraging procurement from New York businesses, it supports these economic anchors and creates jobs across the state while keeping procurement dollars circulating through—rather than leaving—our state economy. This is a critical step towards localizing our economy and building resilience against international supply chain disruptions. We look to Governor Hochul to make this a reality by signing this bill into law.” – Bob Rossi, Executive Director, New York Sustainable Business Council

“Tony’s success in preventing deforestation and combatting climate change through supply chain due diligence shows it can be done and can be done in a transparent, cost-effective manner.  However, in order for us to collectively succeed, individuals, civil society, the business sector and governments must act together.  This bill harnesses the purchasing power of the state of New York to help achieve that worthy goal.  We urge that it become state law as soon as possible.” – Barry Schumacher, Public Policy Lead, U.S., Tony’s Chocolonely

“Kickstarter is a New York-based crowdfunding platform that 23 million people have used to pledge over $7.7 billion to fund more than 250,000 small businesses and creative projects. These projects increasingly have climate responsibility baked into their charter or even central to their very purpose. The new business community is already stepping up to protect our climate and safeguard the future of humanity. It is time for our government to do the same.” – Jon Leland, Chief Strategy Officer, Kickstarter

“We need action and accountability–and that’s what this bill would do. We’ve seen the world mobilizing around forest protection–this bill could spark better practices everywhere. So little stands between business as usual and change, anything else would fail the people of New York and the people of the world.” – Jennifer Skene, National Resource Defense Council Natural Climate Solutions Policy Manager, International Program

“Regional Access is a New York-based food distributor committed to sourcing regionally and supporting the development of local economies across New York State since our founding in 1989. By sourcing from New York first, we can support our businesses and communities. Beyond that, our nation offers an incredibly diverse bounty. To source not simply beyond our borders but in ways that encourage tropical deforestation is unconscionable.” – Dana Stafford, President, Regional Access

“Deforestation is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and a leading driver of climate change.  And it is the poor and the marginalized who will suffer most from the effects of climate change. So protecting tropical forests and defending the most vulnerable are intimately related.  Care for the earth and care for our neighbors go hand in hand.” – Pastor John Paarlberg, NY State Council of Churches

“Pope Francis tells us, The earth’s resources are also being plundered because of short-sighted approaches to the economy, commerce and production… those richly biodiverse lungs of our planet, which are the Amazon and the Congo basins …we know how important these are for the entire earth and for the future of humanity. ( Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, nos. 32 and 38, May 24, 2015)” – Sister Catherine C. Darcy, Mercy Justice Team 

Earlier this year, advocates including Indigenous leaders visiting from South America, Indonesia, and around the globe delivered more than 600,000 petition signatures to Governor Hochul asking her to sign the bill. Thousands of New Yorkers also signed the international petition. Indigenous leaders also previously called for Hochul to sign the bill

About The New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act: 

  • Requires state contractors who deal in tropical forest-risk commodities to certify that their products don’t drive tropical deforestation or degradation.
  • 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. 
  • 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 contacts: TJ Helmstetter for Friends of the Earth, [email protected]
Brian Keegan for Environmental Advocates NY: [email protected]

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