Sometimes it seems that only the bad news makes headlines, so here’s a piece of good news: On May 26, the Norwegian government pledged to zero deforestation on its territory.
The Scandinavian nation committed to no longer using and acquiring products that encourage the loss of forestry. The laudable decision was included in the recommendation of Action Plan on Nature Diversity by Norway’s Standing Committee on Energy and Environment.
According to the committee, the government should consider supporting biodiversity protection with the funds offered by the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG). They also asked for the creation of a separate biodiversity policy.
As a global sovereign wealth fund, GPFG is mainly focused on climate change policies with deforestation. However, the fund has yet to establish a specific policy for biodiversity protection.
The country’s pledge is a win for Rainforest Foundation Norway, which has been lobbying for this kind of commitment for several years.
Nils Hermann Ranum, the leader of the Rainforest Foundation Norway policy and campaign, said that “Over the last few years, a number of companies have committed to cease the procurement of goods that can be linked to the destruction of the rainforest.”
Thus, it is encouraging that the Norwegian state has also decided to follow suit and set up new demands regarding public procurements. After this victory, Ranum hopes that other countries, such as Germany and the UK, will decide to commit to zero deforestation.
It would be the next logical step, seeing that all of them have already entered in September 2014 into a joint declaration at the UN Climate Summit in New York. Zero deforestation is something the European countries had promised to support on a national level.
Similarly, they also committed to coming up with solid policies in terms of sustainable procurement of beef, soy, timber, and palm oil.
According to a previous study, about 40 percent of total tropical deforestation from 2000 to 2011 was due to palm oil, wood, soy and beef products from only seven countries.
In these countries — Argentina, Malaysia, Bolivia, Paraguay, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, and Indonesia — the deforestation rates are the worst globally; they also rank at 44 percent as sources of carbon emissions.
Norway’s pledge has made history: It’s the first country to make it, hoping that other countries will see the benefits to our planet and do the same.
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