Driving Destruction in the Amazon

How steel production is throwing the forest into the furnace

Publication - 11 May, 2012
Wood charcoal is burning up more than what’s for dinner at backyard barbeques. In Brazil- the world’s largest consumer of wood charcoal, almost all of the wood charcoal is used to process pig iron (a key ingredient for steel). Turning iron ore dirt into steel requires massive amounts of energy, and for the rainforest in the northeastern Amazon, this energy has come at a heavy price. Wood charcoal made from the charred remnants of the rainforest is used to heat pig iron blast furnaces that provide raw material for the steel mills and cast iron foundries. Steel is found everywhere - cars, appliances, construction, and airplanes.

"Driving Destruction in the Amazon" has undergone a detailed review and has been revised to address some inconsistencies in references, spelling and translation. The revised report maintains that the production of pig iron, the raw material for steel, is linked to Amazon destruction through the use of slave labour and  logging in protected areas and indigenous lands in the  Brazilian Amazon.

Two years of Greenpeace investigations, summarised in this report, reveal that end users including major global car manufacturers – indirectly or directly source pig iron whose production is fueled by forest destruction and slave labour in their supply chain. On notice for many years due to media and industry articles, these companies continue to disregard evidence that some of their suppliers are breaking Brazilian labour and environmental laws and wreaking havoc in the Amazon.

Driving Destruction in the Amazon

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