People, Environment

Norway Commits to Zero Deforestation

Norway Commits to Zero DeforestationNorway Commits to Zero Deforestation

Norway is a leader in funding forest conservation around the world, and has also taken a stand for the human rights of forest communities. But now the country has announced that it will walk the walk itself.

In what is being hailed as a groundbreaking move, the Norwegian Parliament pledged on Thursday that the government’s public procurement policy will be going deforestation-free, reported.

The Rainforest Foundation Norway, which has worked for a number of years to secure a zero deforestation commitment from the Norwegian government in regard to its supply chains, said in a statement on Friday that “Norway is the first country in the world to commit to zero deforestation in its public procurement.”

The parliament’s Standing Committee on Energy and the Environment made the pledge in a recommendation on the government’s Action Plan on Nature Diversity. The committee requested in the recommendation that the government “impose requirements to ensure that public procurements do not contribute to deforestation of the rainforest.”

Further details on what those requirements will actually entail will have to be elaborated upon by the government as a follow-up to the decision made today by the parliament, according to Rainforest Foundation Norway.

The Standing Committee on Energy and the Environment also requested that the government address the need to protect biodiversity through the investments made by Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, and that a separate policy for biodiversity be developed.

The announcement would seem to make good on a joint declaration Norway issued with Germany and the UK at a UN climate summit in New York in September 2014, which stated the three countries’ intention to “promote national commitments that encourage deforestation-free supply chains, including through public procurement policies to sustainably source commodities such as palm oil, soy, beef and timber.”

“Over the last few years, a number of companies have committed to cease the procurement of goods that can be linked to destruction of the rainforest,” Nils Hermann Ranum of the Rainforest Foundation Norway said in a statement.

 “Until now, this has not been matched by similar commitments from governments. Thus, it is highly positive that the Norwegian state is now following suit and making the same demands when it comes to public procurements.”