Global companies urge Brazil not to undermine its protection of the Amazon
20 May 2020
We've joined over 40 companies to write an open letter to the National Congress of Brazil, read our joint release below:
Household brands, investors, and livestock producers say Brazil’s actions threaten future investment
Over 40 finance, livestock, hospitality, and retail companies including Burger King, Nandos, Tesco and Waitrose, have come together in less than 48 hours to sign an open letter to the National Congress of Brazil calling on Deputies and senators to vote against a new law which could cause further destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
The companies have written to the Brazilian National Congress highlighting their grave concern over the law which will be decided on via an emergency online vote on Wednesday (20 May). This measure would legalise the private occupation of public lands up to 2018 in Brazil, most of which are in the Amazon. If passed, the law would encourage further deforestation.
These companies represent significant investment and operations in Brazil through their support of farmers and industry throughout the economy. At the moment, the strong protections in place to protect the sensitive Amazon biome mean that they can know the meat, soy for animal feed, and other materials they source or produce have not contributed to deforestation in this sensitive area.
If the proposed measure passes on Wednesday, it would send a clear and worrying message legitimising those that engage in illegal deforestation. Companies signing the letter are concerned that there would be an “unacceptable risk” that their partners and supply chains may not be acting responsibly.
Giles Bolton, Responsible Sourcing Director of Tesco said: “The Amazon is a vital environmental resource for the world and we want to work with local partners to ensure that protecting it is also the best economic option for Brazil. But providing an amnesty for the minority who have already destroyed parts of it would encourage more destruction. Should this proposal pass, the ability of leading businesses to continue sourcing there will inevitably be called into question”
Last year saw serious and widespread fires in the Amazon. Increased rates of deforestation combined with the upcoming dry season present an even greater risk of fires this year, with the latest figures showing that deforestation has increased by 94% from August 2019 to April 2020 compared to the previous year. This April alone it increased 64% compared to April 2019.1
Brazil has previously shown environmental leadership, from launching the Forest Code to supporting the Amazon Soy Moratorium. Since these measures launched the agriculture sector has thrived from the investment and supply chains the signatories have made.
These companies are now urging Brazil to show forward-thinking leadership again, rather than supporting a measure that threatens the Amazon biome, could further undermine the land rights of indigenous communities, and imperils meeting the targets of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.