A huge area of 1645 hectares in Gleba do Pacoval, 100km from Santarem, Amazon, illegally logged to clear land for soya plantations.
Following a Greenpeace investigation into the impacts of the
soya trade in the Amazon, McDonald's and other leading European
food retailers have formed a unique alliance with Greenpeace to
demand action from soya traders to stop deforestation in the Amazon
As a result of pressure from this alliance, the US commodities
giants Cargill, ADM, Bunge, French-owned Dreyfus, and
Brazilian-owned Amaggi - which between them account for the
majority of the soya trade in Brazil - along with the rest of the
soya trade in Brazil have been brought to the negotiating
The traders have been discussing an initiative proposed by
Greenpeace and the food companies that includes criteria designed
to boost the Brazilian Government's efforts to stop deforestation,
enforce governance, protect critical habitats, and safeguard the
lands of indigenous peoples and traditional communities.
The soya traders commitment to a limited two year moratorium
risks being no more than a token gesture, unless the traders
deliver real change to protect the Amazon.
Greenpeace is demanding that the moratorium stays until proper
procedures for legality and governance are in place and until there
is an agreement with the Brazilian Government and key stakeholders
on long term protection for the Amazon rainforest. A working group
will be established, made up of soya traders, producers, NGOs, and
government to put in place an action plan.
The soya traders' statement follows a three year Greenpeace
investigation into the negative impacts of soya in the Amazon. Soya
is the leading cash crop in Brazil and soya farming - much of it
illegal - is now one of the biggest drivers, along with cattle
ranching and illegal logging, of deforestation in the Amazon
rainforest. Violent conflict over illegally cleared land is not
uncommon. Most of this soya is exported to Europe to feed chicken,
pigs and cows for meat products.
"The part played by food companies selling products which have a
direct link to Amazon deforestation for soya has been crucial in
bringing the big soya traders to the negotiating table. Now the
challenge is for the soya trade to deliver real on the ground
results to protect the Amazon rainforest from destruction," said
Gerd Leipold, Executive Director of Greenpeace International.
A statement released by McDonald's today says: "When we were
first alerted to this issue by Greenpeace, we immediately reached
out to our suppliers, other NGOs and other companies to resolve
this issue and take action...We are determined to do the right
thing together with our suppliers and the Brazilian government, to
protect the Amazon from further destruction...The two-year time
frame set for the initiative is, we hope, indicative of the sense
of urgency with which the soya traders wish to implement the
governance programme and all of its conditions. We expect that
should some of the measures take longer than the stated two years
to implement, the moratorium would remain in existence until all
commitments have been fulfilled."
The Amazon is not only the most bio diverse region on the planet
but is also important for the regulation of the climate and for the
lives of millions of people living there. Yet because of
unprecedented levels of destruction for agricultural commodities
like soya, an area of the Amazon the size of five football pitches
has been lost every minute over the last 10 years.
Greenpeace Brazil Executive Director, Frank Guggenheim said, "We
need to keep pushing for an agreement that will really protect the
future of the rainforest and the Amazon people. Disputes over land
and forest resources have not only destroyed large areas of the
Amazon but also claimed thousands of lives. Soya traders must now
help bring governance and environmental protection to the entire
All of the food companies calling for action to protect the
rainforest have also pledged to continue their demands for non
genetically modified (GM) soya from their suppliers. Greenpeace
will continue to campaign against the use of GM crops within the
Amazon rainforest and elsewhere.
Other contacts: Paulo Adario, Head of Greenpeace Amazon Campaign, +559281158928 (mobile)John Sauven, Greenpeace UK (London), +447929638296 (mobile)Thomas Henningsen, Greenpeace Germany, +491718780833 (mobile)
VVPR info: Video available from Greenpeace International Video Desk +31653504721Photos available from Greenpeace International Photo Desk +31653819121 or +31653819255
Notes: (1) Eating up the Amazon, Greenpeace, April 2006. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/eating-up-the-amazon