Earlier this month, Norway became the first country to establish a Zero Deforestation procurement policy, prohibiting the clear-cutting of trees.
Norwegian lawmakers also announced their commitment to finding a way to source products such as timber, palm oil, and soy so that they leave minimal impact on the ecosystem.
According to the United Nations, the manufacturing of the aforementioned products contributed to just under half of total tropical deforestation. Moreover, when forests are cleared and set on fire, the carbon from the trees is released as carbon dioxide, which is the primary greenhouse gas contributing to the earth’s severe climate change.
“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,” said Nils Hermann Ranum of Rainforest Foundation Norway.
In addition to cutting off procurement of products contributing to deforestation, Norway is also donating $150 million to stop deforestation in Libya, and the country’s Standing Committee on Energy and the Environment has also urged the government to protect biodiversity through its pension portfolio, which was the first major fund to move away from coal.
Norway is looking for sustainable sources of products like palm oil and timber. Tropical timber, which is sometimes manufactured into hardwood, is highly sought-after in some regions of the world. The demand for high-value species can drive extreme levels of logging, thus contributing to the destruction of tropical rainforests.
In the United States, over half (54%) of home buyers are willing to pay a higher price for a home with hardwood floors. Organizations like Rainforest Relief are encouraging consumers to avoid wood products logged from tropical forests, promoting domestic alternatives and recycled plastic lumber.