Global Witness has endorsed the FOREST Act, which aims to prevent the import of commodities that cause deforestation from entering the US market.

If introduced, the Act would represent a significant step forward to help the US to reach its goals to end global deforestation and move towards forest restoration by 2030.

The law follows in the footsteps of the EU Deforestation Regulation and the UK Environment Act by issuing supply chain traceability requirements that supports transparency and ensures accountability that products are deforestation-free.

It also defines a program for channelling US resources towards areas with high rates of deforestation.

While we urge this process to be done in close coordination with the export countries - and particularly with Indigenous and other local communities that live in or near the affected landscapes’ boundaries - we applaud the FOREST Act’s intent for a holistic approach that supports the transition away from deforestation while also cleaning up products for US consumers.

We urge the passage of the FOREST Act of 2023 before the end of the year.

Ashley Thomson, Senior US Policy Advisor at Global Witness, said:

“The FOREST Act is a step forward for the US’s fight against global deforestation. It would prevent goods linked to illegal deforestation from lining US supermarket shelves and put the US on par with other global markets who’ve recently passed deforestation regulations.

“But deforestation doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and is often part of a larger, harmful process of agricultural expansion into protected areas, sometimes on land already inhabited by communities. When deforestation happens in these areas, it becomes a human rights issue as well as an environmental problem.

“This Act is a chance for the US to end our role in importing injustice and implicitly enabling exploitation. We urge Congress to urgently pass the FOREST Act and move towards supply chains that are more just and create a mutual benefit for everyone while conserving the worlds’ forests.”