Driving Destruction in the Amazon

May 2, 2012

Wood charcoal is burning up more than what’s for dinner at backyard barbeques. In Brazil- the world’s largest consumer of wood charcoal, almost all of the wood charcoal is used to process pig iron ( a key ingredient for steel). Turning iron ore dirt into steel requires massive amounts of energy, and for the rainforest in the northeastern Amazon, this energy has come at a heavy price. Wood charcoal made from the charred remnants of the rainforest is used to heat pig iron blast furnaces that provide raw material for the steel mills and cast iron foundries. Steel is found everywhere - cars, appliances, construction, and airplanes.

Two years of Greenpeace investigations, summarized in this report, reveal that end users including major global car manufacturers – indirectly or directly source pig iron whose production is fueled by forest destruction and slave labour in their supply chain. On notice for many years due to media and industry articles, these companies continue to disregard evidence that some of their suppliers are breaking Brazilian labour and environmental laws and wreaking havoc in the Amazon.

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