Norway has become the first country in the world to commit to zero deforestation.
The Norwegian parliament pledged the government’s public procurement policy will become deforestation-free after a committee of MPs recommended imposing regulations to ensure the state did “not contribute to deforestation of the rainforest”.
Norway funds forest conservation projects worldwide and also supports human rights programmes for forest communities.
Nils Hermann Ranum, the head of Policy and Campaign at Rainforest Foundation Norway, said in a statement: “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.
“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”.
The Rainforest Foundation Norway has campaigned for years to secure a zero deforestation commitment from the Norwegian government.
The MPs’ committee also called for the government to protect biodiversity by developing a separate policy and through investments made by Norges Bank Investment Management.
In 2014 Norway made a joint declaration with Germany and the UK at a UN climate summit in New York, pledging 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”.
The production of beef, palm oil, soy and wood products in seven countries with high deforestation rates was responsible for 40 per cent of total tropical deforestation and 44 per cent of associated carbon emissions between 2000 and 2011, according to Climate Action.