The World Daily
Brazil threatened by European firms over deforestation levels

Photo: TWD


By Patryk Krych | The World Daily | MAY 5th 2021


A group of companies operating in Europe have threatened to quit using commodities and products harvested from Brazil’s agricultural producers under the condition that the country’s congress go ahead with their plan to legalise a bill which may only worsen deforestation levels.

Officially, the bill is set to expand property rights on public land for squatters, which environmental experts warn will only worsen the deforestation levels in the country which have already been at an incline since the election victory of current Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro’s primary interests thus far have been industrialisation, having promised to raise the country out of poverty – thus giving little afterthought to environmental awareness.

On Wednesday, a group of European companies including Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Metro and John Lewis (among others) wrote an open letter to Brazilian legislators which read: “If this or other measures that undermine these existing protections become law, we will have no choice but to reconsider our support and use of the Brazilian agricultural commodity supply chain.”

The legalisation of the bill would be, by some means, rewarding to illegal land-grabbers who have unlawfully cleared sections of the forests for agriculture. Bolsonaro has for a long time been accused of showing amnesty-like treatment to illegal Amazon rainforest loggers, and this latest development is sparking many related fears.

The companies stated that over the course of the last year, they have been witnesses to circumstances that “result in extremely high levels of forest fires and deforestation in Brazil.” They added that the country’s set goals to reduce carbon emissions and deforestations were inadequate and needed revisions.

The open letter to Brazilian legislators added that the potential passing of this new law could pose “potentially even greater threats to the Amazon than before.”

The new law was meant to be voted on last week in Brazil’s Senate, but was pushed back in the schedule amidst an upheaval of criticisms and outrage from environmentalist who insist this decision can only serve to hurt the forest, as well as the country’s reputation further.

"We cannot fight the climate crisis without the Amazon, yet its future hangs in the balance as deforestation pushes it closer to the point of collapse,” said the executive director of science and conservation at WWF-UK, Mike Barrett. “If passed, this vote in the Brazilian Congress will fuel further destruction and place greater risk on the lives of the people and wildlife who call it home.”

He added: “As global efforts to protect the Amazon threaten to be undermined, it's encouraging to see major businesses sounding the alarm.”


“The Amazon faces a new threat with legislation that undermines the credibility of environmental protections,” said the head of food policy at the Co-op, Cathryn Higgs. “Its rainforest is essential to planetary health and it's imperative the proposed legislation isn't given any airtime by the Brazilian government.”

This is the second attempt of this kind from Brazil to try and push forward such a legislation, with a similar attempt having been abandoned back in May of 2020 when many European companies, many of them the same ones now threatening to reconsider their support for Brazilian commodities, had boycotted the country’s agriculture.

The companies further stated that they “consider the Amazon as a vital part of the earth system that's essential to the security of our planet, as well as being a critical part of a prosperous future for Brazilians and all of society.”


By Patryk Krych | © The World Daily 2021