For over two years, Greenpeace international has been involved in an intense investigation of Amazon soy. It's no secret that the Amazon rainforest is being destroyed to make room for soybean crops, but the driving force behind the deforestation has been a secret... until now.
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. We're releasing our findings in a controversial new report: Eating up the Amazon.
Soybean production in the Amazon has grown exponentially in
recent years. This rapid expansion of the agricultural frontier
has resulted in some of Brazil's richest ecological areas being
bulldozed to make room for crops. In fact, soy is now the leading
cause of Amazon deforestation. The scientific journal Nature recently warned
that 40 percent of the Amazon will be lost by 2050 if current
trends continue. Not only will the loss of the rainforest
contribute to global warming, it will have devastating effects on
indigenous people and wildlife that depend on the forest for
Our investigative unit used satellite images, aerial
surveillance, previously unreleased government documents and
on-the-ground monitoring to expose the illegal 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. Which soy processors are to
blame? It's as easy as ABC.
ADM, Bunge and Cargill - Big Profits, Dirty Hands
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.
Cargill is the worst of the worst. It has constructed a massive
and illegal port facility in the frontier city of Santarém. Cargill
projects that two to three million tons of soy a year will be
trucked into its Santarém plant once a highway is completed - a
volume of exports that demands a huge increase in soy cultivation
in the region. Cargill constructed the $20 million terminal over
the objections of local people, without conducting the
environmental impact assessments required by Brazilian law.
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.
Learn More >> Read the full report