Amazon Soy Moratorium Holds
Greenpeace today welcomed a renewed commitment by Brazilian soy traders to reject soy grown in newly deforested areas of the Amazon given these crops were planted and grown in breech of the Amazon Soy Moratorium initiated in 2006.1 The announcement came after evidence presented by the Soy Working Group (GTS)2 identified areas in the Amazon rainforest that were cut down after 2006 to cultivate soy plantations.
The Brazilian soy traders associations (ABIOVE and ANEC), which typically make funding available to farmers to help them grow soy, have committed to restrict the finances of growers who have contravened the ban.
The announcement and monitoring results were presented at a press conference today that included the Brazilian Environment Minister, Mr. Carlos Minc.
"Greenpeace congratulates soya traders for keeping their commitments to both the moratorium and their clients and consumers who do not want to be associated with Amazon destruction" said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon Campaign coordinator speaking at the conference. "Today's statements clearly tell those farmers who tried to cheat the moratorium that they will pay through loss of earnings and market access; the challenge for traders now is to find and isolate these farmers from their supply chain."
The monitoring, conducted for GTS by Globasat, found that 12 of the total 630 deforested areas observed were being used to grow soy. Surveillance was focused on areas larger than 100 hectares, with a pilot program for smaller areas in three parts of Mato Grosso, the Amazon state with the highest rates of deforestation.
At the conference Greenpeace challenged the Brazilian government to act on the commitments it made when the moratorium was extended in June 2008. Among these, was a) the promise to speed up registration of rural properties to more easily identify soy farms, and b) a promise made by Carlos Minc, and welcomed by Greenpeace, to commit a further US$2.29million to protecting forests through this process.3
"I recognize all the positive efforts government, industry and civil society have made to ensure protection of our forest," said Minc. "I credit reductions in Amazon deforestation to agreements such as the soya moratorium."
Greenpeace warns that halting Amazon deforestation is essential for Brazil to effectively tackle climate change. Tropical deforestation is responsible for nearly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and destruction of the Amazon makes Brazil the world's fourth largest climate polluter.
In December 2009 world leaders will meet for crucial UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark. Any effective deal to save the climate must include measures to halt deforestation. Greenpeace believes Brazil must set an example and become a climate leader by committing to end deforestation by 2015, and they will need significant support the United States and European governments to achieve this.
1. A 2006 Greenpeace investigation that exposed the direct links with soy expansion and Amazon deforestation led to the soy industry agreeing to immediately stop purchasing soy grown in newly deforested areas of the Brazilian Amazon for 2 years from July 2006. In June 2008, the moratorium was extended by another year (http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/landmark-amazon-soya-moratoriu).
2. The Soy Working Group (GTS) includes soy traders such as Bunge, Cargill, ADM and Amaggi, as well as NGOs including Greenpeace, Conservation International, TNC, IPAM and WWF. The GTS was created to support the implementation of the moratorium.
3. The Brazilian government also committed to support the implementation of the moratorium through measures including speeding up of registration and mapping of rural properties. This includes designating environmental and economic zoning within the Amazon biome; prioritizing areas where soy production is concentrated, at a scale of 1:250.000 to allow more precise identification of the limits of the zones where soy can be grown.
Daniel Kessler, Greenpeace USA Media Officer, +1 970 690 2728
Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon campaign director: +55 92 8115 8928
Tica Minami, Greenpeace Communications: +55 92 8114 4517