Deforestation Free Public Procurement
In order to transform our economies towards greater sustainability, resilience and equity, it is crucial that we reduce consumption, especially in the over-consuming wealthy nations of the Global North. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (commonly known as the SDGs), recognize this problem in their call for sustainable consumption and production patterns. But not enough has been done to meet the challenge.
Part of the consumption challenge can and must be met by reducing the sheer quantity of stuff we as a society consume. But a significant part of the challenge also lies in transforming global demand for the most unsustainable goods.
Globally, governments spend an estimated $13 trillion annually — one-sixth of global GDP — in the procurement of goods. What if this money were to be directed towards driving sustainability?
What if governments were to use their purchasing power to transform the way goods are produced?
This is where Deforestation Free Public Procurement comes in. Since 2018, Friends of the Earth has been at the forefront of envisioning and advocating for state and federal bills designed to leverage the enormous purchasing power of governments to dramatically reduce demand for products linked to deforestation.
The California Deforestation Free Procurement Act and the New York Deforestation Free Purchasing Act, both introduced in early 2021, would require that all companies providing the states with products containing tropical and boreal “forest-risk” commodities like palm oil, paper pulp, tropical and boreal timber, rubber, cattle and soybeans demonstrate that their production has not contributed to deforestation or intact forest degradation. Covered companies would have to establish strict measures to protect forests and biodiversity, reduce emissions from plantations, and respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples whose lands are considered for plantation development. Under the proposed laws, companies will be required to provide precise details about the source of forest-risk commodities found in products that may be furnished to the state—down to the plot of land they are grown on.
These deforestation free procurement bills are designed to drive transparency, traceability, and accountability in global supply chains. We’re beginning with a few states with purchasing power in the billions of dollars. But imagine if the $13 trillion that the world’s governments spend on procurement were to be invested in deforestation free purchasing. It would, quite literally, change the world.
AB 416, the California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act, ensures that state contracts are not playing part in the commodity-driven deforestation crisis in either the boreal or tropics.
State legislators introduced the New York Deforestation-Free Procurement Act to ensure the state government does not drive deforestation.
California State Assembly Member Ash Kalra today introduced the California Deforestation Free Procurement Act (AB2002). If the bill were to become law, it would tap the enormous purchasing power of California to halt the destruction of tropical forests, a leading cause of climate change.