New York Bill Addresses State, Local Funding of Deforestation, Human Rights Violations

Bill Addresses Tropical Deforestation, Promotes Justice, Protects New Yorkers, and Builds Climate Leadership

ALBANY, NY — A groundbreaking climate bill in the New York state legislature would help ensure that state and local government procurement does not fund deforestation and contribute to climate change and human rights violations. The New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act, sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger (D-28) and Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski (D-96) (S.4859/A.5682), cleared an important hurdle today with passage through the Senate Procurement and Contracts Committee.

"This year is crunch time for New York State to implement the landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (2019) and make sure we are solidly on the path to fight climate change with everything we've got. But while we are working to zero-out the emissions we generate here at home, we cannot ignore the emissions we outsource to other countries through our consumer choices,” said Senator Liz Krueger. “That's why the 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. 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, the planet, and New York's economy."

“New York is a leader, and we have set high standards and goals to combat climate change,” said Senator Jeremy Cooney. “I am proud to not only Co-Sponsor the NY Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act, but to also help advance the bill through the committee I chair, Procurement and Contracts. I look forward to it’s continued advancement, and voting in favor on the floor of the Senate.”

“New Yorkers are in harm’s way of deadly heat waves, life-threatening storms, and severe statewide economic climate impacts, “said Marcus Sibley, director of conservation partnerships at the National Wildlife Federation.New Yorkers are also impacted by the interconnected global biodiversity and justice crises. Making matters worse is the horrifying reality that black and communities of color, indigenous peoples, and low and moderate-income communities -- living both in New York and outside of the Empire State -- are the most impacted by these crises. This legislation will ensure that New Yorkers are leading in the fight against the climate crisis.”

“The time has come to ensure that the commodities New York State purchases with taxpayer dollars are not exacerbating our planetary crises. A key step in meeting that goal is to ensure that the state’s purchasing protects the world’s tropical rainforests, which stabilize our climate and maintain global biodiversity. Equally important, the human rights violations that flow from the production of commodities like tropical lumber, cattle, soy, palm oil, and chocolate must be stopped. With this bill, New York has a chance to break this cycle of environmental and human injustice,” stated Jeff Conant, Director, International Forest Program, Friends of the Earth. 

“As the state leading the fight against climate change, it is urgent that New York makes certain that state resources are not being spent on activities and products that directly contribute to climate change—especially global deforestation. This bill ensures that products being procured by New York State are NOT contributing to the degradation or deforestation of intact tropical forests, and protect our climate and indigenous populations around the world. We applaud the Senate Procurement and Contracts Committee for moving this common-sense legislation and look forward to seeing it become law this year,” said Conor Bambrick, director of policy for Environmental Advocates NY.

The legislation will now head to the New York Senate Finance Committee for approval.

More about the legislation:

  • Requires state contractors who deal in tropical forest-risk commodities to certify that their products don’t drive tropical deforestation or degradation, by providing data to the state and the public demonstrating supply chain due diligence to their products’ points of origin. Defines “tropical forest-risk commodities” to include soy, beef, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, wood pulp, paper, and wood products. 
  • 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, and 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. This program will be administered by Empire State Development.
  • Requires a minimum of two representatives from indigenous tropical communities within the geographic areas to be part of the Stakeholder Advisory Group.
  • Other commodities may be added by the Commissioner of the Office of General Services.


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