Norway has always been a major funder of forest conservation projects not only at home but also worldwide, so it is no surprise that it has now become the first country in the world to commit to zero deforestation. The Norwegian parliament pledged that the government’s public procurement policy will become deforestation-free.
The Norwegian 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 that the government “impose requirements to ensure that public procurements do not contribute to deforestation of the rainforest,” and that it address the need to protect biodiversity through the investments made by Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global.
“This is an important victory in the fight to protect the rainforest. 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,” said Nils Hermann Ranum of Rainforest Foundation Norway. “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.”
Norway made a joint declaration 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.”
Sadly, studies show that the production of beef, palm oil, soy, and wood products in just seven countries with high deforestation rates (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea), between 2000 and 2011, was responsible for 40 per cent of total tropical deforestation and 44 per cent of associated carbon emissions.
Let’s hope other countries will follow Norway’s example.