New Greenpeace report reveals fast food suppliers importing deforestation and violence from Brazil
by Katie Nelson
December 3, 2019
Bahia, Brazil, December 3, 2019 – Today, a new Greenpeace International investigation uncovered that mega-traders Cargill and Bunge are exporting soy from an agricultural estate in Brazil with a long record of violence, illegality, and environmental destruction. Cargill and Bunge, both US-based corporations, supply soy to numerous international companies – including fast food brands McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King – retailers, and consumer goods brands that promised to eliminate deforestation by 2020. 
“Cargill and Bunge are supplying the market with soy linked to decimation and violence from Brazil’s Cerrado. Brands buying the soy drive this destruction. This soy is feeding chicken and meat sold in fast food and retail stores around the world,” said Cristiane Mazzetti, Campaigner at Greenpeace Brazil.
Cargill and Bunge both have silos on the Agronegócio Estrondo estate in Brazil’s Cerrado, and export its soy to Europe and East Asia.  Despite both Cargill and Bunge’s commitments on deforestation, Estrondo recently renewed a permit to deforest nearly 25,000 hectares of land – an area the size of Seattle – in the rapidly-disappearing savanna.  Soy traders have thus far resisted calls to curb deforestation in the Cerrado, where half of the natural vegetation has already been destroyed. 
“The world’s food-producing businesses are fueling the climate crisis. The violence in the Cerrado against traditional communities – combined by the lack of intervention from both governments and the private sector – illustrates how nature is treated as an endless resource to exploit at any cost,” said Diana Ruiz, Campaigner at Greenpeace USA.
Greenpeace International’s report, Under Fire, details accounts of illegal land clearance, land grabbing, and slave labor on the Agronegócio Estrondo estate. Members of traditional geraizeira communities have reported being detained, abducted, shot, and having access to communal lands restricted by Estrondo’s private security force. In May 2019, a Greenpeace Brazil investigative team and German TV Channel ARD Weltspiegel documented an armed raid against one community living within Estrondo’s borders, capturing footage and photographs. Threats against traditional and Indigenous communities and forest destruction are both on the rise since President Jair Bolsonaro came to power in January. 
“There has never been a more crucial moment for companies to act. The future of vital ecosystems and the communities that rely on them hangs in the balance. Companies must immediately end trade with environmental destroyers and take action to protect people and nature,” said Daniela Montalto, Campaigner at Greenpeace UK.
The full Under Fire report may be accessed here.
Photos and videos can be accessed here:
- Armed raid in Estrondo: https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJ8FN7Q3
- Wider collection of related visual materials: https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJ8W7DPW
 The owner of Burger King, Restaurant Brands International, pledged to stop deforestation only by 2030.
 According to export documents obtained by Greenpeace Brazil and Panjiva trade data. Greenpeace Germany protested a ship carrying soy from the Cerrado into the port of Brake, Germany on August 4, 2019. Greenpeace Brazil has since been able to confirm via export documents that soymeal from Agronegócio Estrondo, exported from Bunge’s silo, was on the ship.
 Permit renewed on May 22, 2019, by Bahia’s Institute of Environment and Water Resources (INEMA).
 Half of Cerrado destroyed according to Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.
 For example, Conselho Indigenista Missionário (CIMI) recorded 160 incursions into 153 Indigenous territories in the first 9 months of 2019, up from 109 in 2018. The deforestation rate in the Amazon increased by 30 percent between August 2018-19 over the previous year, reaching its highest rate in more than a decade according to INPE.
Katie Nelson, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA, +1 (678) 644-1681, [email protected]
Reykia Fick, Global Communications Lead – Forests, Greenpeace Canada, +1 (819) 918-0470, [email protected]