Good News From the Amazon: Soy Moratorium Renewed

by Daniel Brindis

November 25, 2014

Over the past eight years, the Soy Moratorium has been one of Greenpeace's proudest milestones in the fight against deforestation.

A deforested area is prepared for planting. During an overflight to monitor the northern state of Mato Grosso, Greenpeace identify farms with evidence of recent deforestation, caused by soy production and cattle raising.

© Paulo Pereira / Greenpeace


Over the past 8 years, the Soy Moratorium has been one of Greenpeace’s proudest milestones in the fight against deforestation and today in Brazil, the Soy Working Group announced that the Moratorium would be extended until May 2016. This news is somewhat unexpected to some given that this past year, it was announced that moratorium would end for good.

In 2006, shortly after Greenpeace sounded the alarm on Soy as a driver for deforestation in the Amazon, the soy industry formulated a mechanism that would keep Amazon deforestation out of the Brazilian soy. Since then the moratorium became fortified with the increased involvement from NGOs, Soy customers, the Brazilian government, and financial institutions.

Although this latest extension buys more time, what happens after May 2016 is not so clear. Customers of Brazilian soy want to buy soy that is free of deforestation. Moving forward, a new permanent policy is required for zero deforestation in the soy sector. One thing that is becoming more clear is that even if Brazilian law allows deforestation, Brazilian agriculture cannot neccessary afford to allow it. According to scientists, decades of deforestation has yielded the current drought devastating productivity this year in Brazil.

There is reason for some optimism as globally as we recently saw companies and governments (except Brazil) commit to phase out deforestation, and heavyweight traders like Cargill are moving towards zero-deforestation commitments across all commodities. Today, however, these ambitious cross-commodity commitments are few and far between and more companies will need to show the same level of ambition in order to get real change on the ground.



Daniel Brindis

By Daniel Brindis

Daniel is the Forests Campaign Director, based in San Francisco. His portfolio includes the Amazon, the Canadian Boreal, and environmental certification schemes like the Forest Stewardship Council. He splits his time between the San Francisco and Manaus offices.

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