Following President Biden’s Executive Order  on Earth Day to strengthen America’s forests, boost wildfire resilience, and combat global deforestation, Global Witness calls on US Congress to pass urgently needed legislation to end financing of deforestation, which is a leading cause of climate-critical forest destruction.

The Executive Order directs the State Department to submit a report to the President with suggestions on how to reduce or eliminate US purchases of agricultural commodities grown on illegally or recently deforested lands, including recommendations for proposed legislation.

Alexandria Robins, Policy Advisor at Global Witness, said:

“This Executive Order is an important acknowledgement of the role of forests in tackling climate change, but it will only be effective if followed by legislative action to end the US’s contribution to global deforestation through its supply chains and financing.”

“Global Witness analysis has shown how US banks and investors backed agribusiness firms linked to the destruction of climate-critical forests to the tune of $58 billion in the five years following the Paris Climate Agreement. These US financial institutions made an estimated $538 million in such deforestation deals.” 

“Unless the US takes action to curb the US money that drives vast destruction of forests globally, policies like this will ring hollow.”