The Chain: Norway says “no” to deforestation

Impacts $60 billion in annual public procurement

The Government of Norway last week announced a ban on public procurement of products, services and goods that directly cause tropical deforestation. The new policy impacts an estimated $60 billion in annual procurement by the nation’s central and sub-central governments.  The Norwegian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Energy and Environment recommended the ban in their report to parliament.

Norway’s announcement comes in support of the New York Declaration on Forests, which was launched during the 2014 Climate Week in New York City. The Declaration is the first global timeline for cutting and totally ending deforestation, and was supported by developing and developed nations, businesses and NGOs.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an organization of 34 leading global democracies, Norway spends an estimated 12% of its GDP on public procurement and its share of total government expenditures is estimated at 27%. Both are less than the respective OECD weighted average for member countries. Likewise, because of Norway’s centralized government procurement policies, Norway may be able to achieve their zero-deforestation procurement policies in an economically efficient manner.

Norway’s estimated 2015 emissions per capita are 7 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent. This new procurement policy, in coordination with other decisions, has allowed the Government of Norway to demonstrate global leadership by moving up its pledge to go carbon neutral, from 2050 to 2030.

The NGO Rainforest Foundation Norway, which works to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples’ and traditional populations while conserving global rainforests, expressed strong support for the new policy, saying:

“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.” The statement continues, “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”.

Rainforest Foundation Norway has called for other countries to follow the Government of Norway’s global leadership and develop zero-deforestation procurement policies of their own.