Bill Memo: TREES Act

Major benefit rating

Summary

This legislation amends the Finance Law to require all state agency contracts to ensure that no products being procured by New York State are contributing to the degradation or deforestation of intact tropical forests. This would include products extracted from, grown,  harvested, reared or produced on land where deforestation or degradation of tropical forest occurs. It is also the responsibility of the contractor to provide records relating to the product to verify that its production did not result in deforestation or degradation, and the contractor must confirm that subcontractors also adhere to these standards.

Explanation

The Tropical Rainforest Economic & Environmental Sustainability (TREES) Act, an evolution of the NY Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act establishes a procurement standard that helps ensure that companies contracted with the state of New York are not directly or indirectly contributing to tropical forest degradation or deforestation.

Up to 30% of greenhouse gases globally are a result of deforestation. Trees and forests sequester carbon, helping to mitigate the full effects of climate change – which have already begun to hurt New Yorkers and our communities. Destructive storms, sea level rise, wildfire smoke, and more have already begun to disrupt life and wellbeing in New York State. Forests also provide ecological resilience and preserve biodiversity. It is equally important for New York State to prevent the degradation of tropical rainforests as it is to reforest land in our state.

This legislation addresses this issue by incentivizing companies bidding on state government contracts to invest in supply chain transparency and sustainability, requiring them to certify that any “forest-risk” commodities they’re selling do not originate from land impacted by forest degradation or deforestation. It gives small businesses and MWBE’s improved opportunities to contract with New York State agencies and closes existing loopholes in the state’s tropical hardwood ban. Passing the Trees Act is a concrete way to ensure that New York tax dollars are not funding further deforestation and protecting New Yorkers from the impending risks of climate change.

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Environmental Advocates NY Bill Rating: Major Benefit

Memo #: 42