This article presents a critical assessment and examination of the underlying justice norms present in the Norwegian–Ethiopian Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) partnership across international, national, and local scales. Based on a multiscalar justice framework and a critical discourse analysis, we explore the extent to which conceptions of justice align or diverge across and between scales of REDD+ discourse. The findings indicate the dominance of a “utilitarian–neoliberal” nexus at the policy level, underpinning a cost-effective orientation of REDD+, that conflicts with the egalitarian ethics present at the community level in Ethiopia. The research suggests that conflicts in REDD+ design, implementation, and management are likely to be underpinned by, and reflect, fundamental divergences in actors’ norms and ethics. Accordingly, we raise concerns over the extent to which the needs and interests of the forest-dependent communities are to be actively considered and valued by REDD+ policy makers.

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