Posted on June 24, 2024


June 25, 2024 


“This bill is a win-win for New York, for New York-based businesses, for the global climate and for human rights.”

New Advocacy Campaign Launch:

NEW YORK – More than 100 civil society, faith, environmental, and sustainability organizations are urging New York Governor Kathy Hochul to sign The Tropical Rainforest Economic & Environmental Sustainability Act, or the TREES Act.

This new letter, signed by the 100 NGOs, comes on the heels of a separate, earlier plea to Hochul from indigenous leaders and groups in 28 tropical countries impacted by deforestation. 

The TREES Act, which passed both the state’s legislative chambers earlier this year, will make sure that companies selling to New York government agencies don’t buy products from companies that cut down tropical rainforests. It will also ensure any business providing goods or services in New York do not contribute to the associated abuses of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in tropical forested regions.

If Hochul signs the bill into law, she will cement New York as a leader in combating the destruction of the world’s rainforests – one of the largest drivers of climate change. The groups’ letter to the governor states:

“We know that inaction is not an option: last year, New York experienced storms with record-setting precipitation of up to 8.13 inches in the worst hit areas, resulting in destruction of infrastructure, such as Route 28 in the Adirondacks and the Amtrak and MTA railways along the Hudson River, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.”

In support of the legislation, organizations also launched a website, which will serve as a hub for advocacy, research, and activism in support of the bill. Visit:

Last year, Governor Hochul vetoed similar legislation despite widespread public support, citing concerns about its impact on businesses. The updated bill responds to Hochul’s concerns, giving state vendors a longer ramp-up, ensuring they have clear guidance about how to comply, and providing short-term exemptions. 

Read more about the effort to pass the TREES Act here

Governor Hochul recently accepted a position as the co-chair of the U.S. Climate Alliance, and made a speech at the Vatican’s climate summit. Signing the TREES Act would be an opportunity for her to demonstrate that her climate actions are in line with her stated climate commitments. 

"This is a common-sense approach that won’t cost the average New York family a dime,” said Vanessa Fajans-Turner, Executive Director, Environmental Advocates NY.  “The TREES Act ensures that our state government only supports responsible businesses, aligning economic activity with our values of environmental stewardship and human rights. By signing this bill into law, Governor Hochul would not only be taking a significant step towards safeguarding our planet for future generations without placing any additional burden on New York taxpayers but also demonstrating that her climate actions are in line with her stated climate commitments." 

“The ongoing destruction of the earth’s last great rainforests is as unforgivable as it is irreversible, and is inextricably tied to labor abuses, violence against human rights defenders, species extinction, and of course the climate emergency that affects us all, said Jeff Conant, Senior International Forests Program Manager with Friends of the Earth. “New York’s pioneering TREES Act represents the latest and best thinking in demand-side policy levers to stem this tide of destruction. The deep and wide support for this critical legislation makes clear that its time has come, and not a moment too soon.”

The complete letter to Governor Hochul in support of the TREES Act and list of signatories is available here.


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