On Wednesday, October 6, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) launched the Fostering Abroad Rule of Legislation and Environmentally Sound Commerce (FOREST) Act, which seeks to cut back commodity-driven unlawful deforestation around the globe. The laws creates a risk-based framework for bettering transparency in firms’ international provide chains; offers monetary and assistance-based incentives to cut back unlawful deforestation; provides deforestation to monetary prison statutes; and establishes a buying desire for deforestation-free merchandise within the federal procurement course of. The invoice additionally establishes an advisory committee, made up of firms and civil society teams, to tell its implementation.
Most notably, the invoice would require importers, beginning one 12 months after enactment, to certify that they’ve exercised affordable care to make sure that sure items made out of sure coated commodities weren’t produced on illegally deforested land. For imports from international locations at high-risk of deforestation, importers could also be required to supply detailed data on their full provide chain and measures taken to make sure the commodity was not produced on illegally deforested land. The Workplace of the U.S. Commerce Consultant could be tasked with growing an inventory of coated commodities – together with palm oil, soybeans, cattle, rubber, pulp, and cocoa – and coated merchandise, in addition to to establish international locations that shouldn’t have ample and efficient protections towards commodity-driven unlawful deforestation.
The FOREST Act has been endorsed by almost 40 environmental and human rights advocacy teams. Additional data on the invoice, together with a section-by-section abstract and the total invoice textual content, could be discovered here. If enacted, the invoice’s certification necessities would place vital new due diligence burdens on commodities essential to a variety of downstream merchandise.