Today, a group of lawmakers led by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) announced the introduction of the bipartisan Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade (FOREST) Act. This legislation will require importers of high-risk commodities to trace the products they sell throughout their supply chains and confirm they were produced legally. If passed into law, this bill will help ensure that the products American consumers buy are not contributing to the destruction of forests and the conversion of critical ecosystems.
In response, WWF issued the following statement from Kerry Cesareo, senior vice president for forests:
“Forests and other natural ecosystems protect our health and the health of our planet, yet every day we see the devastating impacts of their loss. Deforestation is responsible for nearly 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions and drives the decline of biodiversity and spread of zoonotic diseases.
“Most deforestation takes place to expand the production of agricultural commodities—and as a major importer of these, the US needs to lead the way in reducing global emissions, conserving the world’s forests and other natural ecosystems, and reducing environmental crime.
“By requiring importers of high-risk commodities to trace where their products come from and ensure they are legally produced, this legislation takes an important step toward the elimination of ecosystem conversion from consumer products.”