Amazon Rainforest Deforestation

Page - January 27, 2010
The Amazon is the largest expanse of tropical rainforest in the world, but it is disappearing at an alarming rate. Since the 1970s, an area of rainforest the size of California has been lost. While most people know that the Amazon is under threat, few know that one of the principal causes of the Amazon's destruction is soy.

Greenpeace Amazon monkey bannerSoy traders encourage farmers to cut down the rainforest and plant massive soy monocultures. The traders take the soy and ship it to Europe where it is fed to animals like chickens and pigs. The animals are then turned into fast food products.

Three major companies - ADM, Bunge and Cargill - account for 60 percent of the total financing of soy production in Brazil.  By building soy silos and terminals at the rainforest edge and buying soy from illegally-cleared and operated farms - including farms with a documented record of slave labor - these companies are both spurring and profiting from the soy plunder of the Amazon.  

For more than two years, Greenpeace has been involved in an intense investigation of Amazon soy production. Our team looked beyond the fields and forests of Brazil to trace the entire soy chain from its beginnings in North American boardrooms to its ends in the feedlots, restaurants and supermarkets of Europe.  You can read our findings in our report: Eating up the Amazon.

Our investigative unit used satellite images, aerial surveillance, previously unreleased government documents, and on-the-ground monitoring to expose the links in the soy chain. Our report follows a path of destruction built by the U.S. multinationals that finance the soy farming, buy the soy, and ship it to Europe through their own ports and processing plants to be fed to animals like chickens and pigs.

The Amazon rainforest is not only one of the richest and most biologically diverse regions on the planet, it is also one of the most threatened.  In order to protect this ancient treasure, this unsustainable development needs to stop immediately.  We're calling on companies to ensure that their soy comes from legal sources outside the Amazon rainforest, farmed without slave labor and free of genetic engineering.