For Immediate Release
September 9, 2021
Assemblymember Kalra and Bill Sponsors Celebrate Passage of AB 416, a Landmark Bill to Make California a Leader in Fighting Tropical Deforestation
If signed, California would become the first state in the nation to require state procurement contracts to certify that operations and supply chains are not contributing to tropical deforestation
SACRAMENTO – Following a year of record-breaking devastating fires around the world and unprecedented, extreme climate events, AB 416, The California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act, authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and co-sponsored by Friends of the Earth, Peace 4 Animals, and Social Compassion in Legislation, passed the California State Legislature and makes its way to the Governor’s desk.
“I am proud that the Legislature has once again affirmed California’s leadership on addressing climate change, protecting biodiversity, valuing Indigenous rights, and responding to the environmental emergency that is tropical deforestation,” said Assemblymember Kalra. “If signed by the Governor, AB 416 will ensure that California is not inadvertently contributing to tropical deforestation and encourages more transparency and sustainable practices across the board.”
The world’s forests are in crisis. Tropical forests cover roughly seven percent of the Earth’s surface but harbor close to half of all species on Earth. An estimated 18 million acres of forest—an area one-fifth the size of California—is lost every year, largely due to the expansion of agribusiness plantations. Tropical deforestation and related land-use changes are responsible for nearly a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions, and are a major contributor to the global biodiversity crisis.
AB 416 would require state procurement contracts comprised of forest-risk commodities, entered or renewed on or after January 1, 2023, to certify that their operations and their supply chains are not contributing to tropical deforestation and have in place a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy. By adopting and implementing NDPE policies, all contractors doing business with the State of California would, at a minimum, ensure their commodity supply chains adhere to High Conservation Values; have a progressive reduction of emissions; respect Indigenous Peoples’ rights; protect biodiversity; and prevent poaching of at-risk species in all operations.
Environmental advocates and industry leaders alike agree that such policies are the best way to prevent ongoing forest destruction. A version of the bill introduced in 2019 achieved strong bi-partisan support but failed to pass the Senate Appropriations Committee.
"We are over the moon that AB 416 has passed both houses. We thank Assemblymember Ash Kalra for his bold leadership and Senator Allen for presenting the bill," said Judie Mancuso, founder and president of Social Compassion in Legislation. "With daily environmental disasters occurring in the US and around the world, we have no time to lose. We must do all we can at a local and global level to mitigate and stop the catastrophic climate crisis mankind has created."
“As the world’s fifth largest economy California wields a lot of power,” said Jeff Conant, Senior Forests Campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “The Deforestation-Free Procurement Act is a tool to ensure the state’s spending doesn’t fuel deforestation and by extension, climate change, biodiversity loss, and abuse of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Ultimately, the goal is to shift markets away from forest destruction and towards more forest-positive practices. We hope Governor Newsom will join the fight to make California the first state to use its purchasing power to end tropical deforestation.”
The principal coauthors of AB 416 are Assemblymembers Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), and Alex Lee (D-San Jose), and Senators Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) and Henry Stern (D-Los Angeles). The bill is also coauthored by Assemblymembers Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), and Luz Rivas (D-Arleta), and Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz).
Assemblymember Ash Kalra was first elected to the California Legislature in 2016, representing the 27th District, which encompasses approximately half of San Jose and includes all of downtown. In 2020, he was re-elected to his third term. Assemblymember Kalra is the Chair of the State Assembly Labor and Employment Committee and also currently serves as a member on the Housing and Community Development, Judiciary, Transportation, and Water, Parks, and Wildlife committees.