AB 416 Deforestation-Free Procurement Act Passes Senate 30 – 8, Now Heads to Governor Newsom!

AB 416 Kalra
AB 416 Kalra

Today, AB 416 the Deforestation-Free Procurement Act passed the full Senate with a vote of 30 to 8. Earlier this year, the bill was introduced by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) along with co-sponsors, Social Compassion in Legislation, Friends of the Earth, and Peace 4 Animals.

When signed into law, California will become the first in the nation to require state procurement contracts to certify that operations and supply chains are not contributing to tropical forest deforestation or intact forest loss. All state contracts involving commodities such as palm oil, soy, cattle, rubber, paper/pulp and timber would require contractors to maintain a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy, and provide evidence that their operations are not linked to forest destruction and degradation or abuses of Indigenous peoples’ rights.

“I am grateful to my colleagues in the Senate for affirming California’s leadership on addressing climate change, protecting biodiversity, and valuing Indigenous rights. AB 416, the California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act, ensures that state contracts are not playing a part in the commodity-driven deforestation crisis in the tropics,” said Assemblymember Kalra.

“We thank the Senators who voted for AB 416 today. Our world needs bold leadership to address the escalating climate crisis,” said Judie Mancuso, founder and president of Social Compassion in Legislation. “We cannot keep kicking the can down the road; the environmental destruction we are all witnessing must be stopped and it starts right here at home. California is a powerful influence in the marketplace, and AB 416 leverages our purchasing power to address the tide of destruction felling our planet’s forests.”

“Tropical forests are an irreplaceable global treasure, havens for biodiversity, lungs of our planet, and a critical source of carbon capture. As California reckons with wildfires, droughts, and heat waves, it’s essential our tax dollars aren’t inadvertently contributing to their demise,” said Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica), Chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, Co-Chair of the Environmental Caucus, and principal coauthor of the bill. “AB 416 ensures our government negotiates environmentally-minded procurement contracts that bolster efforts to combat global climate change and protect forests.”

The bill, already widely supported by animal and environmental organizations from around the world, recently received approval from asset managers representing over $1.5 trillion dollars. In their letter to Assemblymember Kalra, the group sited the essential role forests play in combatting climate change, reversing biodiversity loss, and protecting human health and human rights. Additionally, in making the business case for AB 416, the letter acknowledged that “many sectors, such as agriculture and the pharmaceutical industry, depend on ecosystem services supported by forests.”

In May, Social Compassion in Legislation commissioned a poll of California registered voters on their level of concern with tropical deforestation and the State’s purchases that might contribute to deforestation. The poll showed that Democrat, Republican, and Independent/Decline to State voters are overwhelmingly concerned about our planet’s most important forests, showing broad bipartisan support for the policy in AB 416.

“Our commissioned poll showed that 84.1% of voters across California were concerned or very concerned about the potential deforestation being caused by the production of certain commodities that are purchased by the State of California,” said Nickolaus Sackett, Director of Legislative Affairs for Social Compassion in Legislation, and who has helped lead the coalition in support. “This concern translated into 78% support of legislation that would require the State of California to only purchase goods from companies that certify they do not contribute to deforestation.”

“As the world’s fifth largest economy California wields a lot of power,” said Jeff Conant, Senior Forests Campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “The Deforestation-Free Procurement Act is a tool to ensure the state’s spending doesn’t fuel deforestation and by extension, climate change, biodiversity loss, and abuse of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Ultimately, the goal is to shift markets away from forest destruction and towards more forest-positive consumption. We hope Governor Newsom will join the fight to make California the first state to use its purchasing power to end tropical deforestation.”

The bill now goes back to the Assembly floor for a procedural concurrence vote before going to Governor Newsom for his signature.

We will be sending out instructions soon on how to contact Governor Newsom asking him to sign the bill.

AB 416 - Save Tropical Forests

We can’t thank you all enough for your support throughout this entire process. All the calls and letters are essential for success! Please, consider making a donation to support our vital work.

Thank you for your help,
Judie Mancuso, founder/CEO/president
Social Compassion in Legislation

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