It might not come as a surprise to hear that Norway has unveiled a new socially-conscious and environmentally supportive deforestation scheme, but this measure is massive.
Norway has become the very first country to place a ban on deforestation within their country, which sets a phenomenal precedent for the rest of the world. The Scandinavian country has already donated a billion dollars to Brazil to get them to stop deforestation, as well as pledging $47 million per year to Congo countries for the same reason. Additionally, Norway have given Indonesia $50 million per annum to restore and preserve their peat fields, so it’s safe to say that they have a pretty good record when it comes to environmental protection.
The country has now stated that it plans to implement measures to “impose requirements to ensure that public procurements do not contribute to deforestation of the rainforest.” This means that there has been a ban placed on any product which creates, or is party to deforestation of the rainforests.
“This is an important victory in the fight to protect the rainforest. 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,” Nils Hermann Ranum of Rainforest Foundation Norway said in a statement on the organization’s site. “Until now, this has not been matched by similar commitments from governments. Thus, it is highly positive that the Norwegian state is now following suit and making the same demands when it comes to public procurements.”
According to IFLScience there is another side to the story which is being largely overlooked in recent press:
Rainforest Foundation Norway doesn’t think that things should stop with Norway. They have called on other nations to do the same, specifically the UK and Germany, with whom the Norwegian government made a joint statement at the UN Climate Summit in New York in 2014 on the issue of deforestation. During the conference, the three nations said they want to “promote national commitments that encourage deforestation-free supply chains, including through public procurement policies to sustainably source commodities such as palm oil, soy, beef and timber.” With Norway now committed, they want these other nations to step up to the plate.
While obviously the commitment by Norway to stop contributing to deforestation around the world is a brilliant thing for any nation to do, in reality it does little for the country’s green credentials, considering it is still one of the world’s largest producers of oil and gas. Norway has long been exploiting the massive reserves that were found in the North Sea, and has now moved on to those found in the Barents Sea, bordering on the Arctic Circle.
So, as always, such announcements are to be greeted with a degree of cynicism, or at the very least, a drive to investigate further. Still, it’s a step in the right direction in the fight against the annihilation of our planet’s natural resources.