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Bad News That’s Good for Forests?

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April 14, 2009

Today we announce news that at first blush is not good–we have found areas in the Amazon rainforest that have been deforested to grow soy in violation of the Soy Moratorium Greenpeace helped create in 2006.

The good news is that the coalition of traders have agreed not to allow any of this soy to enter their supply chain and plan to revoke the funding of the farmers who broke the agreement. This is big news. Since we found soy growing in newly deforested areas for the first time this year, it was a test for the moratorium and the commitment of our coalition parters in the Soy Working Group to make sure that this soy did not make its way into the mouths of consumers. For more information read on because I’ve included a blog sent to me today from Paulo the Director of our Amazon work in Brazil.

– Lindsey 

Today the soya trading companies operating in Brazil – this includes giants such as Cargill, Bunge, ADM, Dreyfuss, Amaggi and others – will announce that the monitoring of the current soya crop (2008-2009) found soya planted where it shouldn’t be: in areas deforested in the Amazon after July 2006. This is the date when the soya industry announced a moratorium for buying soya coming from newly deforested areas in the Amazon – a direct result of a strong campaign led by Greenpeace and soya European consumers, including McDonalds and its allies.

The good news is that the volume of soya resulting in deforestation is pretty small and traders will finally enforce their promises of not buying soya from farmers who disrespected the moratorium. Additionally, traders will cut credits of these farmers or others who challenge the moratorium – the soya traders fund large part of the Brazilian soya production.

Last year, the monitoring found new deforestation in the surroundings of traditional soya farms but didn’t find soya planted in those areas (only rice which is not part of the moratorium). It has been pretty easy and comfortable for traders to claim that they are respecting an agreement which was not welcomed by farmers – in fact, it was imposed to them. Now, we are happy to see the trading companies making good on their promises to protect the world’s largest tropical rainforest!

This decision of the traders shows that companies can really play a fundamental role in fighting deforestation and join the global effort to stop climate change.

cheers,
paulo

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