Norway adopts world’s first zero deforestation policy

Norway announced a zero deforestation policy in its procurement of goods, two years after making a pledge with Germany and Britain to ‘promote national commitments that encourage deforestation free supply chains.’

Norway has declared a complete ban on deforestation, and has become the first nation to commit to a zero deforestation policy.

The announcement comes two years after Norway issued a joint declaration with Germany and the United Kingdom stating that it would “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.”

“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,” Nils Hermann Ranum of 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.”

Any product that contributes to deforestation will not be used in the Scandinavian country. The pledge was recommended by Norwegian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Energy and Environment as part of the Action Plan on Nature Diversity. Rainforest Foundation Norway was the main lobbying power behind this recommendation and has worked for years to bring the pledge to existence.

Norway is spending almost $3.7 billion a year on efforts in Brazil, Liberia and other countries to curb deforestation. The idea in that Norway will fund efforts to help farmers produce more on the land they have already cleared rather than cutting down more trees to plant more crops or grass for cows as well as pay for government efforts to establish preserves.

Many Norwegian private companies have indeed taken steps to preserve trees in Africa, the Amazon basin, Indonesia and elsewhere. Norwegian food producers used 15,000 tons of palm oil in 2011. A year later, after a public campaign against palm oil, they cut their use to 9,600 tons, the Foundation said.

India, in an attempt to preserve much of its forests, is planning to spend about $6.2 billion to create more forests.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised the partnership, calling it “one of the most impressive climate change mitigation actions” of the past decade.

Peter Ellis, forest-carbon scientist with the Nature Conservancy, told the Monitor between 10 to 25 percent of the climate change problem could be addressed through forest conservation.

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