The act would slash this contribution to global emissions by closing loopholes in an existing ban on the use of tropical hardwoods and by requiring contractors ensure that the products they sell to the state don’t contain materials sourced from land where deforestation or forest degradation has occurred since 2023. The requirement would apply initially to palm oil, soy, beef, coffee, cocoa, wood pulp and paper; that list would be reviewed and possibly expanded in the future.

A critical feature of the proposed law is that it also addresses the human rights abuses that are closely associated with the destruction of tropical forests in many parts of the world. Contractors would be required to ensure their products aren’t linked to violations of workers’ rights, land tenure rights, and Indigenous peoples’ right to free, prior and informed consent. Those who fail to properly report the origins of their products and the steps they’re taking to address the deforestation and human rights risks in their supply chains could face fines and the loss of their government contracts.

The new version of the bill includes several measures aimed at alleviating Gov. Hochul’s concerns, including a broad exemption for all state agencies and authorities in situations where they receive no bids in response to their solicitations for products covered by the bill.

But the bill’s sponsors have remained firm in insisting that these procurement rules should be seen as an opportunity, not a burden, for New York. They will encourage local businesses to get ahead of the curve on the transition to a greener economy and — in the words of the bill — allow the state to use its “purchasing power” to “play a leadership role in preventing forest loss and supporting markets for sustainably-sourced products.”

During negotiations over the bill last year, Gov. Hochul’s team suggested the state might have to stop buying Girl Scout cookies since they contain palm oil, a key driver of deforestation in places like Brazil and Indonesia. Sen. Krueger replied that many companies “make delicious cookies” without palm oil. “I’m thinking of starting a petition and seeing how many smart young Girl Scouts would prefer we save the planet versus maintaining the current recipe for Girl Scout cookies.”

Given the mounting concern among young people about their future in a rapidly warming world, Krueger is undoubtedly right that many scouts would prefer a climate-friendly recipe for their cookies. Or, perhaps better yet, the cookie companies could start sourcing only sustainably produced palm oil. The real question — given the urgency of the crisis facing the planet — is whether the governor will opt this time to support the proposed climate-friendly procurement recipe that would encourage them to do so.