Amazon Soya Moratorium Extended

Feature story - 28 July, 2009
More good news about the ongoing campaign to protect the Amazon rainforest: the landmark three-year-old soya moratorium has been extended for another year.

A huge area of 1645 hectares in Gleba do Pacoval, 100km from Santarem, Amazon, illegally logged to clear land for soya plantations.

While we are far from being out of the woods, last week's announcement from Nike and today's extension of the moratorium on soya linked to Amazon destruction will help to protect the Amazon and help in the fight against climate change for another year.

Brazilian soya traders step up

A few years ago, rising international demand for soya had led farmers to drive Amazon deforestation to make room for soya cultivation. In 2006, we published 'Eating up the Amazon', a report on our investigation into the links between soya in the supply chains of leading international food companies and the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

Responding to the pressure that followed, the major soya traders operating in Brazil announced a two-year moratorium, which came into effect in July 2006, dramatically decreasing the trade in soya grown on newly deforested land in the Amazon.Three years have not been long enough to establish permanent solutions to halt deforestation related to soya farming, and without an extension much of the hard work done to date would have been lost.

The announcement of the soya moratorium extension was attended by the Brazilian environment minister Carlos Minc and the Soya Working Group. The European companies that supported its establishment in 2006, so that they could guarantee soya linked to Amazon destruction did not end up in their products, also praised the extension.

Next on the chopping block

The soya moratorium is a great help in the fight to protect the Amazon but we weren't ready to rest easy just yet. Just two months ago, our most recent exposé showed how the Brazilian cattle industry is contributing to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Shortly after the release of 'Slaughtering the Amazon', it seemed like everyone wanted out of the dirty business as major global companies and the World Bank began to sever their links with the slaughterhouses and farms involved. Read more about the how goverment and business' reacted in the weeks following "Slaughtering the Amazon".

Rainforests and climate change

Tropical deforestation accounts for up to a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions, more than all the world's airplanes, trains and cars. It has led Brazil to become the world's fourth worst climate polluter and means that runaway climate change cannot be averted unless deforestation is stopped.

The UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen is rapidly approaching; it's time for Heads of State to commit to taking personal responsibility for showing up to the meeting and ensure an effective deal to avert the climate crisis. As part of the deal, President Lula must commit to stopping Amazon deforestation by 2015 and developed countries must provide the financial backing his government needs to effectively monitor and govern the rainforest. In addition, funds are required for the millions of people who depend on the forest to develop new conservation minded industries that do not involve cutting the rainforest down.

Take Action

Tell Obama of the US, Hu of China, Brown of the UK, Merkel of Germany, Sarkozy of France, and Lula of Brazil that they must join Prime Minister Tusk, clear their calendars and show up at the UN meeting to secure the future of the planet, and take personal action to get us out of this mess.

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