Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns joined over a hundred international, national, regional, state and local faith groups in calling on members of congress to pass the FOREST Act of 2023, which would prevent the importation of goods produced by illegal deforestation practices. Read the letter as a PDF.

Feb. 5, 2024

Dear Legislators:

As religious organizations that hold all of God’s creation as sacred, we urge Congress to pass the FOREST Act of 2023 (S.3371/ H.R. 6515) introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz and Sen. Mike Braun and Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. This bill, designed to stem illegal deforestation through trade, is a critical step in addressing climate change and biodiversity loss while promoting good governance and leveling the playing field for responsible businesses at home and abroad.

We also support this bill out of our solidarity with Indigenous peoples around the world, including in the Amazon region of South America, who have been protecting critical forest habitats for millennia. We see the FOREST Act as one mechanism for weakening the link between illegal deforestation and violent land invasions that lead to food insecurity, loss of livelihoods and even forced displacement.

In our role as consumers, we want to make sure that the products we find on store shelves are sourced ethically and sustainably. This is especially true for beef, soy, cocoa and palm oil, which are prioritized in the FOREST Act because they are too often produced on land deforested illegally under the laws of the producing countries. We expect the United States to be a leader in setting high standards for trade and finance that promote good governance, protect vulnerable communities around the world, and maintain the integrity of critical forested ecosystems.

Please sign on as a co-sponsor of the FOREST Act.


To read the full list of signatories, international, national, regional, state and local faith groups, click here.