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Global Day of Action for the Amazon

Global Day of Action for the Amazon

On September 5, activists across the world joined the Global Day of Action for the Amazon to hold governments and companies that stand to profit from the fires in the Amazon accountable for their role in this environmental destruction.

Minneapolis, Minnesota


In Minneapolis, Mighty Earth and 80+ activists rallied at the Minneapolis Institute of Art–home to the Cargill Gallery–to call out Cargill for its role in lighting up the Amazon and polluting water sources. Holding banners such as “Cargill: there’s no art on a dead planet” and “Cargill: helping the world burn” activists from the Twin Cities gathered outside the museum’s main doors.

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Midway through the protest, while chanting “The Amazon’s in flames, we’re out in force and naming names protestors” protestors abandoned their spot on the front sidewalk and swarmed into the main entrance of the museum, where they proceeded to stage a dramatic die-in.

The protest was endorsed by over a dozen local, national, and international organizations, including the Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America chapter, Environment Minnesota, and Rainforest Action Network, as well as by Bill McKibben. Outlets such as Fox 9 and City Pages covered the event.

Cargill went into damage control mode and rapidly issued a comment in an attempt to defend the company’s reputation. In response, Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz released the following statement:

“Cargill gives up the game immediately by declaring their opposition is to ‘illegal deforestation.’ What that actually means is that they are still going to take full advantage of lax regulations and enforcement in Bolsonaro-era Brazil. A commitment to oppose illegal deforestation is nothing more than a pledge to obey the law – this is the bare minimum, not something to celebrate.

“The fires in the Amazon are a byproduct of the rollback of safeguards for the environment and Indigenous peoples in both Bolivia and Brazil. These policies have been implemented at the behest of the region’s industrial agriculture sector, of which Cargill is a top player. We have applauded Cargill for joining the Amazon Moratorium in the past, but since that time they have fallen dramatically behind the industry by refusing to go beyond that single safeguard.

“The Moratorium protects only the Brazilian Amazon, but enables Cargill to continue buying from deforesters in the Cerrado or the Bolivian Amazon, where more than 2.5 million acres have burned, largely to clear land for new cattle and soy animal feed plantations, in just a few weeks. By failing to address these issues and others, Cargill has contributed to the atmosphere of lawlessness in Brazil and beyond that has led to these fires.

“These fires are also exposing a loophole in the existing Soy Moratorium. While broadly effective, it does permit soy producers to engage in extensive deforestation for cattle and still sell their soy to Cargill. The Amazon crisis shows the urgent need to close this loophole so that deforestation can be stopped, whatever crop is driving it.

“In addition, the forest fires in Brazil and Bolivia are a result of land being burned to clear it for cattle. Ranchers will then move cattle from existing land to the newly deforested land, and plant soy to sell to Cargill. As long as Cargill keeps providing this incentive, the burning will continue.”

Washington D.C.


Mighty Earth also co-organized sister actions in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. In D.C., protestors marched from the White House to the building that houses both the Brazilian consulate and the local Cargill office. Campaign director Lucia von Reusner was featured as a speaker at the D.C. protest, where she spoke about the role of large agribusinesses in driving and incentivizing the fires. “It is no surprise that Cargill is headquartered in the same building as the Brazilian consulate, given that our satellite investigations of the most recent fires raging across Brazil and Bolivia have found Cargill and mega beef supplier JBS consistently at the front lines of this deforestation” von Reusner said, addressing the large crowd gathered on the sidewalk.

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International Day of Action for the Amazon: Global Community Sets Stage for Climate Week

Today, concerned citizens across six continents – from Hong Kong to Washington and Paris to Pretoria – will take action for the Amazon by protesting the ongoing fires and deforestation. In a show of international solidarity with indigenous leaders, activists around the world are standing up to President Jair Bolsonaro's reckless policies and the international corporations profiting off environmental destruction.

The burning of the Amazon and the darkening of skies have captured the world’s conscience. But while much of the blame for the fires has rightly fallen on President Bolsonaro for directly encouraging the burning of forests and the seizure of Indigenous Peoples’ lands, the incentive for the destruction comes from large-scale international meat and soy animal feed companies like JBS, Marfrig, and Cargill, according to a recent Mighty Earth report.

Additional research from media and advocacy organizations has helped identify a group of 12 companies responsible for the ongoing deforestation and destruction in the Amazon. This “Dirty Dozen” covers the financing of projects causing deforestation, the traders who help create the market for commodities like soy and beef that are linked to deforestation, and the retailers who sell the resulting products to unsuspecting consumers.

As part of the International Day of Action, Mighty Earth and nearly 100 allied groups – including Amazon Watch, Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, Extinction Rebellion, Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Earth, SumOfUs, Center for Biological Diversity, Endangered Species Coalition, Canopée, Rettet den Regenwald, Danmarks Naturfredningsforening, International Accountability Project, Native Forest Council, Humane League, and others – have sent letters to the CEOs of these 12 companies outlining the steps they must take to end their role in incentivizing destruction of the Amazon and other fragile ecosystems.

Read the letters to Big Finance and Mega Retailers here.

Today’s actions also set the stage for Climate Week in New York City (September 23-29).

“Companies like Cargill, Ahold Delhaize, and others have previously used Climate Week as an opportunity for splashy announcements and feel-good pledges,” Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz said. “But after years of failing to deliver on these promises, their words ring hollow. This Climate Week will mark five years since the signing of the New York Declaration on Forests, and one year left until their original 2020 deadline. The Amazon is on fire, the climate crisis is worsening, and the world cannot afford dithering and excuses any longer. These companies must take decisive action now.”

Background materials


The Companies Behind the Burning of the Amazon

The burning of the Amazon and the darkening of skies from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, have captured the world’s conscience. Much of the blame for the fires has rightly fallen on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for directly encouraging the burning of forests and the seizure of Indigenous Peoples’ lands.

But the incentive for the destruction comes from large-scale international meat and soy animal feed companies like JBS and Cargill, and the global brands like Stop & Shop, Costco, McDonald’s, Walmart/Asda, and Sysco that buy from them and sell to the public. It is these companies that are creating the international demand that finances the fires and deforestation.

New maps and analysis from Mighty Earth, based on data from NASA, CONAB, and Imazon and released here for the first time, show which companies are most closely linked to the burning.

Read the full report, The Companies Behind the Burning of the Amazon in English, Spanish, Italian or French.

Take Action: Tell the companies responsible to stop financing this reckless environmental destruction.


Mighty Earth and NGO's urge the EU to end complicity in the Amazon Fires

Mighty Earth joined today a host of other civil society organizations, pleading the EU to step up to the plate and address its own complicity in current Amazon fires & deforestation crisis. We demanded that the European Commission work on EU regulation to end deforestation once and for all, in order to protect the lungs of the planet.

Our open letter to European heads of state speaks truth to power, affirms that the current destructive fires in Latin America are not natural, are destroying ecosystems and hurting indigenous peoples, that they are triggered largely by soy and beef industries, and that they are made possible by the new Brazilian government’s flawed policies. But most importantly, this communication to the top powers in Europe points out that Europe also bears key responsibility for the fires. European consumption and finance is intimately linked with the current deforestation and fire crisis in Brazil, Bolivia, and neighboring countries.

We are calling on the EU to suspend ratification of the Free Trade Agreement as is and to prepare legislation which will ensure companies and the finance sector do due diligence to guarantee that products placed on the EU market and investments have not led to recent forest degradation or deforestation or caused human rights abuses.

 Read the full letter here.

 


340+ organisations call on the EU to immediately halt trade negotiations with Brazil

In an open letter, over 340 civil society organisations are demanding that the European Union immediately halt free trade agreement negotiations with the Mercosur bloc (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) on the grounds of deteriorating human rights and environmental conditions in Brazil. The letter is addressed to presidents of the EU institutions ahead of the ministerial-level meeting next week in Brussels where EU and Mercosur foreign ministers aim to finalise the negotiations. 

Download the PDF version of the letter here.

German version of the letter (PDF) – French version of the letter – Spanish version – Portuguese version

” Dear President of the European Council, President of the European Commission, President of the European Parliament,

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, are writing to call on the European Union to use its influence to prevent a worsening human rights and environmental situation in Brazil.

In April, more than 600 European scientists and two Brazilian Indigenous organizations, representing 300 Brazilian Indigenous groups, called for the EU to act as a global leader in supporting human rights, human dignity and a habitable climate by making sustainability the cornerstone of its trade negotiations with Brazil. We fully support this call.

Bound by the Treaty of the European Union, the EU and its Member States vowed to respect and promote human rights as an overarching objective in its dealings with other countries. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has also clearly stated the need for new EU trade agreements to deliver sustainable development.

Since the inauguration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in January 2019, we have witnessed increased human rights violations, attacks on minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBTQ and other traditional communities. Moreover, the administration continues to threaten the basic democratic functioning of civil society while instigating a fundamental assault on some of the world’s most precious and ecologically valuable regions.

We are deeply concerned about the following:

  • Indigenous lands demarcation has been put under the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Ministry, paving the way for powerful cattle and soy agribusinesses to accelerate their sweep through the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical forest and the Cerrado, the world’s most biodiverse savannah. Though this controversial measure appears to have been temporarily reversed in May by the Brazilian Senate, President Bolsonaro may still veto it.
  • There has been a dramatic increase in attacks on Indigenous people, other traditional communities and their territories. In February, at least 14 protected Indigenous territories were reported to be under attack from invaders. In addition, the government abolished more than 35 national councils of social participation. Attacks on people defending their territories or natural resources are on the rise in rural Brazil, resulting in increasing deaths of community leaders, peasants and activists.
  • Bolsonaro’s campaign promise of “ending any form of activism” was implemented on his first day in office, empowering the government to “supervise, coordinate, monitor and observe the activities and actions of international agencies and non-governmental organisations within national territory.”
  • Both the Environment Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Ministry are now led by deniers of global warming, leading to the abolishment of departments responsible for climate change. Even as Brazil remains a signatory to the Paris Agreement on climate change, it is becoming unlikely that the administration will take the necessary measures to implement the agreement.
  • Socio-environmental legislation and policies have been dramatically weakened during the first 100 days of the new government. The Forest Code has been undermined with new measures proposing the reduction of legal reserves and a more flexible deadline for land regularization by landgrabbers. In January 2019, deforestation in the Amazon reportedly rose by 54 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

Civil society actors, activists, peasants, workers and minorities face extreme dangers from the incendiary rhetoric of the Bolsonaro government and its supporters. This includes his labeling of members of grassroots movements like the Landless Workers Movement and the Movement of Homeless as “terrorists,” generating concerns that Brazil’s controversial anti-terrorist law will be used to criminalize social activists.

The EU is Brazil’s second-largest trading partner overall, second-largest importer of Brazilian soy and a major importer of Brazilian beef and other agricultural products. The EU, therefore, has a responsibility to address human rights and environmental injustices taking place in Brazil under the Bolsonaro government. It must use its leverage to support civil society, human rights and the environment.

The EU is in the midst of negotiating a far-reaching Mercosur trade deal that seeks to expand market access and trade between the two regions, including Brazil. It is imperative that the EU sends an unequivocal message to President Bolsonaro that the EU will refuse to negotiate a trade deal with Brazil until there is an end to human rights violations, strict measures to end further deforestation and concrete commitments to implement the Paris Agreement.

In the past, the EU has suspended trade preferences with countries involved in human rights violations, such as Myanmar and the Philippines. In addition, the EU has restricted imports of products whose production is related to human rights in the case of conflict minerals. It is time that the EU takes a similar, tough stance to prevent a deterioration of the human rights and environmental situation in Brazil.

We therefore call on you to:

  1. Immediately halt negotiations for an EU-Mercosur free trade agreement.
  2. Guarantee that no Brazilian products sold in the EU, nor the financial markets underpinning them, are leading to increases in deforestation, land grabbing of native lands or human rights violations.
  3. Demand confirmation, with material evidence, that the Brazilian government will fulfill its commitments as part of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  4. Increase support for Brazilian civil society, including strengthening the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy and proactive consultations with Brazilian civil society organisations that address human rights and the democratic functioning of Brazilian civil society.
  5. Monitor and respond to human rights violations—including investigating cases since Bolsonaro’s election—and strengthen mechanisms to protect human rights defenders. For those most at risk, including Indigenous peoples and environmental defenders, the EU should provide direct and urgent support where required, including through political representations.

Sincerely,

ALBA Movimientos International
FIAN International International
foodwatch international International
GRAIN International
Greenpeace International
ISP Interamericas International
OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture International
Plataforma América Latina mejor sin TLC International
Alianza Biodiversidad International
PSI Public Service International Américas International
CIDSE – International family of Catholic social justice organisations Europe
Climate Alliance Europe
Corporate Europe Observatory Europe
ACT Alliance EU Europe
EU-LAT Network Europe
European Coordination Via Campesina Europe
European Environmental Bureau Europe
Fern Europe
Food & Water Europe Europe
Friends of the Earth Europe Europe
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) Europe Europe
S2B network Europe
Slow Food Europe Europe
Acción por la Biodiversidad Argentina
Amigos de la Tierra Argentina Argentina
AMUMRA – Asociación Civil de Derechos Humanos Mujeres Unidas Migrantes y Refugiadas en Argentina Argentina
Asamblea Argentina mejor sin TLC Argentina
ATTAC Argentina Argentina
COMUNA (Colectiva en Movimiento por una Universidad Nuestramericana) en el FPDS-CN Argentina
Diálogo 2000 – Jubileo Sur Argentina Argentina
Frente Patria Grande Argentina
Frente Popular Dario Santillan Argentina
Fundación Grupo Efecto Positivo Argentina
INPADE / FOCO Argentina
Missionaries of Francisco Movement Argentina
Resumen Latinoamericano Argentina
Vamos- Frente Patria Grande Argentina
Anders Handeln Austria
Attac Austria Austria
Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour/AK Europa Austria
Climate Alliance Austria Austria
Coordination office of the Austrian episcopal conference for international development and mission (KOO) Austria
DKA Austria Austria
globalista Austria
Grüne Bildungswerkstatt NÖ Austria
Grupo Encuentro Austria Argentina – GEAA Austria
HORIZONT3000 Austria
Informationsgruppe Lateinamerika (IGLA) Austria
International Fellowship of Reconciliation Austria Austria
Jahoda -Bauer Institut Austria
NeSoVe / Network Social Responsibility Austria
ÖBV-Via Campesina Austria Austria
Parents For Future Vienna Austria
proge Union Austria
Selbstbesteuerungsgruppe Bischof Kräutler Austria
transform!at Austria
vöwg Austria
ELA Basque Country
Mugarik Gabe Basque Country
TRADENER Basque Country
Commission Justice et Paix Belgium
11.11.11 Belgium
Broederlijk Delen Belgium
CNCD-11.11.11 Belgium
Commission Justice et Paix Belgium
Entraide et Fraternité Belgium
FIAN Belgium Belgium
FIAN Belgium Belgium
Indignez-Vous Belgium
SOLIDAIR MET GUATEMALA Belgium
Fundación Solón Bolivia
Centar za zivotnu sredinu/ Friends of the Earth Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
Justiça nos Trilhos Brazil
Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens – MAB Brazil
AMAST RJ Brazil
AMAU (Articulação Metropolitana de Agricultura Urbana e Periurbana) Brazil
Associação Alternativa Terrazul Brazil
Asssociação para Recuperação e Conservação do Ambiente – ARCA Brazil
Campanha Antipetroleira “Nem um poço a mais!” Brazil
Caritas Arquidiocesana de Brasília Brazil
Central Única dos Trabalhadores – CUT Brazil
Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Seguridade Social da CUT Brazil
CONFEDERAÇÃO NACIONAL DOS TRABALHADORES NA SAÚDE Brazil
Convívio Slow Food Parahyba Brazil
FASE – Solidariedade e Educação Brazil
Fasubra sindical Brazil
Federação das Organizações Indígenas do Rio Negro – FOIRN Brazil
Federação Nacional dos Enfermeiros Brazil
Fórum da Amazônia Oriental – FAOR Brazil
Fórum Mudanças Climáticas E Justiça Social Brazil
Friends of the Earth Brazil Brazil
Grupo semente Brazil
INESC – Instituto de Estúdios Socioeconômicos Brazil
İnstituto EQUİT – Gênero, Economia e Cidadania Global Brazil
Instituto Floresta de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento Sustentável Brazil
Fórum Mudanças Climáticas E Justiça Social Brazil
Jubileu Sul Brasil Brazil
Justiça Global Brazil
Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra – MST Brazil
Movimento Urbano de Agroecologia – MUDA Brazil
OLMA – Observatório Nacional de Justiça Socioambiental Luciano Mendes de Almeida Brazil
Operação Amazônia Nativa Brazil
REBRİP- Rede Brasileira pela İntegração dos Povos Brazil
Rede Jubileu Sul Brazil
Slow Food Brasil Brazil
Tribunal Populr Brazil
Za Zemiata – Friends of the Earth Bulgaria Bulgaria
Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine – CDHAL Canada
Lafede.cat – Organitzacions per a la Justícia Global Catalunya
Plataforma Chile mejor sin TLC Chile
Coordinación social y política Marcha Patriótica Colombia
Marcha Patriotica Colombia
Proceso de Comunidades Negras Colombia
Zelena akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia Croatia
Friends of the Earth Cyprus Cyprus
Ekumenicka akademie Czech Republic
Global Aktion Denmark
NOAH – Friends of the Earth Denmark
Verdens Skove Denmark
Oficina de Derechos de la Nauraleza Ecuador
Colectiva Feminista para el Desarrollo Local El Salvador
Fundación de e Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho -FESPAD El Salvador
Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho -FESPAD- El Salvador
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Estonian Forest Aid (Eesti Metsa Abiks) Estonia
Estonian Society for Nature Conservation Estonia
Friends of the Earth Finland Finland
Friends of the Landless Finland
TTIP Network Finland Finland
ActionAid France France
Aitec France
alofa tuvalu France
AMAR Brasil France
Attac France France
Bloom France
cedetim/ipam France
collectif anti ogm 66 France
Collectif Causse Méjean – Gaz de Schiste NON ! France
Collectif Stop TAFTA / CETA France
Comité Pauvreté et Politique France
Commitee in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples of the Americas (CSIA-Nitassinan) France
Confederation paysanne France
Confédération Paysanne Tarn France
Emmaüs International France
FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) France
France Amerique Latine France
France Nature Environnement France
LDH pays Rochefortais France
Le Lien 26 France
Les Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth France) France
Les Amis du Monde Diplomatique France
Les Amis du Mouvement des Sans Terre France
MNLE France
Parents For Future France France
ReAct France
Réseau européen pour la Démocratie au Brésil (RED.br) France
réseau Roosevelt France
Sherpa France
Radio Latina France
tu France
Bizi! France / Basque country
AG Recife e.V. Germany
Agrar Koordination Germany
Agrecol e.V. Germany
Andy Gheorghiu Consulting Germany
ARA e.V. Germany
Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft (AbL) Germany
Attac Germany Germany
Bischöfliches Hilfswerk MISEREOR Germany
Brasiliengruppe Tübingen Germany
Brasilieninitiative Freiburg e.V. Germany
Brasiliennetzwerk Niedersachsen Germany
Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) / Friends of the Earth Germany Germany
BUND Laichingen Germany
Campact Germany
Coordination gegen BAYER-Gefahren Germany
DEAB e.V. Germany
Die AnStifter Germany
Die AnStifter Stuttgart Germany
Dona Flor e.V. Germany
Eine-Welt-Verein Pachamama Stuttgart Germany
Elternseminar Stuttgart Germany
Erich Fromm Institute Tuebingen Germany
FDCL – Center for Research and Documentation Chile-Latin America Germany
FIAN Deutschland Germany
Forum Ökologie & Papier Germany
GegenStrömung – CounterCurrent Germany
Gentechnikfrei21.de Germany
German NGO Forum on Environment and Development Germany
Health and Environment Justice Support International Germany
Informationsbüro Nicaragua e.V. Germany
Initiative kikuna e.V. – Zukunft Nachhaltig Gestalten Germany
just human e.V. Germany
Kaite-ZIM e. V. Germany
Kölner Bündnis für gerechten Welthandel Germany
Kolumbienkampagne Berlin Germany
Kooperation Brasilien e.V. Germany
Lernen im Aufbruch Germany
mediation and project management agrobiodiversity Germany
mediation and project management agrobiodiversity Germany
Naturfreunde Württemberg e.V. Germany
Naturschutzbund Deutschland Germany
Netzwerk Gerechter Welthandel Germany
Parents For Future Bensheim Germany
Parents for Future Freiburg Germany
Parents for Future Stuttgart Germany
People for Future Frankfurt Germany
POEMA – Armut und Umwelt in Amazonien Germany
PowerShift e.V. Germany
Pro REGENWALD Germany
ROBIN WOOD Germany
Save Our Seeds Germany
Society for Threatened Peoples Germany
Stiftung Solidarische Welt – Berta Kühnle Germany
Verein für eine gerechte Welt e.V. Germany
WEED – World Economy, Ecology & Development Germany
Welthaus Fürth Germany
Weltladen Rottenburg Germany
Weltladen-Dachverband e.V. Germany
Women Engage for a Common Future Germany
Wuppertaler Aktionsbündnis gegen TTIP und andere Freihandelsfallen Germany
Energeno Germany
Parents for Future Dortmund Germany
Consumer association for quality of life- ekpizo Greece
Asociación Comunitaria para el Desarrollo ASERJUS Guatemala
Comité de Unidad Campesina Guatemala
consejo de investigaciones en desarrollo Guatemala
Servicios Jurídicos y Sociales, S.C. Guatemala
Observatorio Sociolaboral y del Diálogo Social Ecuador Ecuador
Plateforme Haïtienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif Haití
DIAKONIA Honduras
Clean Air Action Group Hungary
Magyar Természetvédők Szövetsége (Friends of the Earth Hungary) Hungary
My Right To Breathe India
An Claíomh Glas Ireland
forest friends ireland Ireland
Guarani-Kaiowa Solidarity Ireland Ireland
Icsa Ireland
Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers’ Association Ireland
Latin America Solidarity Centre Ireland
Leave No Trace Ireland Ireland
Peoples Movement – Gluaiseacht an Phobail Ireland
Radio Latina Ireland
ZWAI Ireland
Stop Ceta Alliance Ireland
Fair watch Italy
Parents For Future – Turin Italy
Stop TTIP Italia Italy
ASTM (Action Solidarité Tiers Monde) Luxembourg
Bio-Lëtzebuerg asbl Luxembourg
Mouvement Ecologique Luxembourg
natur&ëmwelt a.s.b.l. Luxembourg
Nature Trust – FEE Malta Malta
Unam Mexico
Red Mexicana de Acción frente al libre Comercio Mexico
Heñói Paraguay
Federacion por la Autodeterminacion de los Pueblos Indigenas – FAPI Paraguay
Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales DAR Peru
Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH) Peru
CooperAcción Peru
La Junta Peru
Movimiento Nacional de Mujeres Todas Somos Micaela Peru
Red Peruana por una Globalización con Equidad – RedGE Peru
Red Peruana por una Globalización con Equidad RedGE Peru
Federación de Trabajadores del Agua Potable del Perú – FENTAP- Peru
Institute of Global Responsibility (IGO) Poland
ROZRUCH Poland
Associação de Combate à Precariedade – Precários Inflexíveis Portugal
Circo de Sonho Portugal
Climáximo Portugal
Corporations- Zero Tolerance Portugal
GEOTA Portugal
Glocal Faro Portugal
Glocal Faro Portugal
Mafra sem Glifosato Portugal
MAPA – Movimento de Acção Política Portugal
Palombar – Associação de Conservação da Natureza e do Património Rural Portugal
Parents For Future Portugal Portugal
plataforma algarve livre de petroleo Portugal
plataforma algarve livre de petroleo Portugal
Porto Sem OGM Portugal
Quercus, Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza Portugal
SOS Racismo Portugal Portugal
Teachers for Future Portugal
TROCA- Plataforma por um Comércio Internacional Justo Portugal
ZERO – Association for the Sustainability of the Earth System Portugal
Friends of the Siberian Forests Russia
Slow food Salvador Salvador
ALTERNATIVA REPUBLICANA Spain
Amigas de la Tierra Spain
Amigos de la Tierra Spain
ASiA- Associació Salut i Agroecologia Spain
Attac Spain Spain
Campanya Catalunya No als TCI Spain
COAG Spain
Col.lectiu Agudells Spain
CONGD-IB Spain
DES DE BAIX (Asociación para el debate y la Acción Ciudadana) Spain
Ecologistas en Acción Spain
Ecologistes en Acció Catalunya Spain
Economistas sin Fronteras Spain
Enginyeria Sense Fronteres Spain
Entrepueblos/Entrepobles/Entrepobos/Herriarte Spain
Iniciativa Cambio Personal Justicia Global Spain
INTUMA SL Spain
ISCOD – Instituto Sindical de Cooperación al desarrollo de UGT Spain
Marxa Mundial de Dones-Catalunya Spain
Observatorio de Multinacionales en América Latina – Paz con Dignidad Spain
Podemos Centro Spain
SETEM Catalunya Spain
SOLdePaz.Pachakuti Spain
SUDS Spain
UGT Spain
FIAN Sweden Sweden
FIAN Sweden Sweden
Jordens Vanner Sweden
Latinamerikagrupperna // Solidaridad Suecia-América Latina (SAL) Sweden
Parents For Future Sweden Sweden
Bruno Manser Fund Switzerland
Centre for Developmet and Environment, University of Bern Switzerland
Pro Natura / Friends of the Earth Switzerland Switzerland
Solifonds Switzerland
Arisa The Netherlands
Both ENDS The Netherlands
Commons Network The Netherlands
La Chispa, digitaal platform over Latijns Amerika The Netherlands
Milieudefensie – Friends of the Earth Netherlands The Netherlands
Platform Aarde Boer Consument The Netherlands
Platform Duurzame en Solidaire Economie The Netherlands
SOMO The Netherlands
Transnational Institute The Netherlands
Vrijschrift The Netherlands
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom dutch section The Netherlands
Banana Link United Kingdom
CORE Coalition United Kingdom
EcoNexus United Kingdom
Farms not Factories United Kingdom
Global Justice Now United Kingdom
Globalizations journal United Kingdom
Health and Trade Network United Kingdom
Health and Trade Network United Kingdom
London Mining Network United Kingdom
Parents For Future UK United Kingdom
Traidcraft Exchange United Kingdom
War on Want United Kingdom
Rethinking Value Chains United Kingdom / France
Forest Peoples Programme United Kingdom and the Netherlands
REDES-Amigos del Tierra (FoE) Uruguay Uruguay
Mighty Earth USA

Photo credit : CIFOR – Mato Grosso, Brazil / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Mighty Earth responds to the Fires in the Amazon

As the Amazon continues to burn at a record rate, Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz released the following statement:

“People around the world are battling despair and a sense of helplessness, wondering what can be done to address this ongoing disaster. The answer is to hold people accountable and immediately remove the market incentives that promote this reckless environmental destruction.

“The people who started many of these fires did so in support of Bolsonaro’s policies to develop the Amazon, but they also clear forests because they know that companies will still buy their ill-gotten goods. Major food companies like Stop & Shop and McDonald’s are willing to look the other way while the Amazon burns.

“No more. It’s time for companies like McDonald’s, Burger King, and Ahold Delhaize – which owns Stop & Shop as well as Hannaford, Food Lion, Pea Pod and Giant supermarkets – to halt contracts with companies that have major ties to Brazilian agribusiness, like Cargill and JBS, until the situation is remedied.”

*Photo credit: Fire burns in Brazilian forest (2017, Jim Wickens/Ecostorm).Brazil’s space agency says a record number of fires like these are burning


Mighty Earth responds to deforestation spike in the Amazon

New government data shows that 1,345 sq km of the Brazilian Amazon have been cleared in the month of July alone, an area greater than the city of Los Angeles. In response to this announcement, Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz released the following statement:

“It’s not just President Bolsonaro who is to blame for this massive increase in Brazilian deforestation, it’s also the international companies like Cargill and JBS that are making it possible. These companies are the ones financing the deforestation and exporting meat and animal feed around the world. On a day when heat records are being shattered across Europe, it’s time for Cargill and other companies to stop buying from deforesters. We’re concerned that the combination of Bolsonaro’s weakening of environmental enforcement and the new Europe-Mercosur trade deal will only provide more opportunities for outlaw companies like Cargill to recklessly finance deforestation. Consumers should tell customers of deforestation – companies like Stop & Shop, Giant, and McDonald’s – to call on their suppliers to end their complicity in Brazil’s massive deforestation.”


Judge Cargill on Implementation, Not Commitments

Agribusiness giant Cargill recently made a pledge regarding greenhouse gas emissions from its beef operations in North America. In response to this latest announcement, Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz released the following statement:

"Once again, Cargill’s executives and PR teams have gotten the headlines they wanted after a splashy announcement. But as we documented in our recent report, Cargill: The Worst Company in the World, Cargill’s big announcements are too often just a prelude to failure and disappointment.

"In this case, Cargill’s commitment seems bogus on its face. Rather than committing to actually cutting its climate impact, Cargill is just committing to reducing the 'intensity' of its emissions. In contrast, Smithfield Pork has committed to reduce absolute emissions by 25 percent by 2025, a real goal that they’re well on their way to achieving. Meanwhile, Cargill continues to drive large-scale destruction of native habitat and water and climate pollution throughout its meat supply chain.

"Time and time again, Cargill has proven to be either unwilling or too incompetent to make the modest improvements needed to put their business on a sustainable trajectory, and the promised changes never arrive.

"In 2014, Cargill pledged to great fanfare to end deforestation from the production of key agricultural commodities by 2020. Now that 2020 is just around the corner, they have admitted that goal will not be met and pledged only half measures in response. This is simply how they operate.

"At this point, it’s irresponsible to take Cargill at their word. Cargill should be judged on implementation, not commitments. In the face of our planet’s urgent climate crisis, more empty promises are simply not enough."


Cargill Named "Worst Company in the World"

Cargill Named "Worst Company in the World"

New report documents US-based agribusiness giant’s “ineptitude and incoherence at a grand scale.”

This press release is available in French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and German.

July 11, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Environmental campaign organization Mighty Earth announced today that it had named Minnesota-based Cargill as the “Worst Company in the World” due to its unscrupulous business practices, environmental destruction, and repeated insistence on standing in the way of global progress on sustainability. Mighty Earth’s new report, “Cargill: The Worst Company in the World,” documents decades of bad acts by the company and highlights the need for urgent action. The report is available in Spanish, Dutch, French, Portuguese and German.

“In my 40-year long career in Congress, I took on a range of companies that engaged in abusive practices,” former congressman and Mighty Earth Chairman Henry Waxman writes in the report. “I have seen firsthand the harmful impact of businesses that do not bring their ethics with them to work. But Cargill stands out.”

“As one of the largest companies in the world, Cargill has a responsibility to address its outsized impact,” Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz said. “Mighty Earth runs campaigns around the globe to advocate for sustainable business practices, and Cargill kept showing up when our investigations identified bad actors. Whether we were working on palm oil in Southeast Asia, cocoa farming in West Africa, or soy cultivation in South America, Cargill was always there, ready to thwart progress and impede joint conservation efforts. Given their ubiquity and obstinance, we decided it was time to take a closer look at their checkered past.”

For months, Mighty Earth has engaged in discussions with Cargill, including at the CEO level, to address the report’s findings and seek long-term solutions. Mighty Earth has served as a key convener for other sectors – including rubber, chocolate, and palm oil – as those companies sought to improve their environmental standards and impacts. However, Cargill has refused, time and time again, to substantively address the problems Mighty Earth identified. Instead, Cargill continues to prioritize the deforesters in its supply chains over the climate or their customers’ sustainability demands.

“In press releases and public statements, the agribusiness giant Cargill presents itself as frustrated with deforestation, as though it were some externality they have no control over, like bad weather,” Hurowitz said. “But deforestation isn’t something that’s happening to Cargill, it’s something that Cargill is doing.”

Mighty Earth’s new report identifies Ahold Delhaize – an international supermarket giant that owns Stop & Shop, Giant, Food Lion, Hannaford, and many other brands – as a key customer of Cargill that could take immediate action. Ahold Delhaize, despite its own corporate sustainability pledges, recently broke ground on a new meat packaging facility in Rhode Island as a joint venture with Cargill.

“It’s important for Ahold Delhaize and other Cargill customers to set new sourcing standards that eliminate deforestation from their supply chains. They have the power to force Cargill’s hand, but continued inaction makes them complicit in Cargill’s malfeasance,” said Mighty Earth Senior Director for Forests Mat Jacobson. “Cargill has only gotten away with its bad behavior for so long because it is not a consumer-facing brand. But if folks knew the food they get at McDonald’s, Stop & Shop, or Target was destroying the rainforests or had been produced with child slavery, they’d be shocked.”

The release of Mighty Earth’s groundbreaking report kicks-off a multimillion-dollar, multi-year campaign targeting Cargill and its customers that will urge the agribusiness giant to eliminate deforestation and human rights abuses from its supply chain. To launch the campaign, local Mighty Earth activists and allies including Minnesota Clean Water Action honored Cargill for its dubious distinction with a rally outside Cargill headquarters in Minnesota at which it awarded the company a “thumbs down” placard.

About the Report

Major findings:

  • Cargill is poised to further wreak havoc on fragile ecosystems in Brazil, taking advantage of President Bolsonaro’s rollback of vital environmental protections. In 2014, Cargill pledged to end deforestation for all commodities in its supply chain by 2020. With just one year left, Cargill has continued to incentivize deforestation, remained one of the worst actors on the world stage, and now stands poised to embrace the dawning of a Bolsonaro-era free-for-all in Brazil’s forests.
  • In November 2017, Cargill was fined $10 million by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for years of deliberately misreporting its trade values – by up to 90 percent – in order to defraud both the government and its trading partners. In October 2018, David Dines, the Cargill executive responsible for these violations, was promoted to Chief Financial Officer.
  • Indigenous peoples who depend on forests have had their land encroached upon by Cargill-linked soy plantations in Brazil. They have been forced off of their traditional lands and have experienced sharp increases in cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, and other illnesses linked to pesticides and herbicides used to grow soy – often sprayed by planes directly overhead.
  • Cargill is one of the top ten polluters in the US food industry for more than a dozen pollutants, including formaldehyde, lead, asbestos, hydrogen cyanide, and mercury.

Photo and video assets relating to the report and Cargill’s operations across different commodities are available for media.

Contact: Alex Armstrong, [email protected]


Cargill Announce Support for Deforestation, Defying Customers

Doubles down on plans to continue exploiting and destroying irreplaceable Brazilian ecosystems

In an open letter to soybean producers in Brazil, Cargill announced its opposition to protections for native habitat in Brazil’s Cerrado that would build on the 12-year-long success of the Amazon Soy Moratorium, which banned conversion of additional Amazon forests for soy.

In response to this announcement, Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz released the following statement:

“Cargill continues to prioritize the deforesters in its supply chain over the climate or their customers’ sustainability demands. This is a real slap in the face to companies like Ahold Delhaize and McDonald’s that have repeatedly called on Cargill to build on the extraordinary success of the Amazon Soy Moratorium in additional ecosystems in South America. If these companies are serious about their own sustainability commitments, they’ve got to go beyond polite calls and shift their purchases to more responsible suppliers.

“At a time when Brazil’s forests are being churned up and Indigenous Peoples are being displaced by its suppliers, Cargill continues to embrace business as usual – even as concerned Brazilians and its own customers demand solutions to this environmental and human rights crisis.

“Cargill CEO David MacLennan continues to disappoint. He is fond of making grand public commitments, but anyone who cares about the health of our planet – and I know that includes many people within Cargill – should be dispirited by his ongoing failure to take even basic steps to turn this commitment into reality.”

Contact:

Alex Armstrong
[email protected]


L’un des principaux importateurs de soja en France renonce à lutter contre la déforestation importée

19 juin 2019 – Alors que Cargill, l’un des principaux importateurs de soja en France, vient de publier son nouveau plan d’action soja, force est de constater que le compte n’y est pas. Les entreprises françaises qui utilisent du soja commercialisé par Cargill dans leur chaîne d’approvisionnement devront en tirer les conséquences.

Le 25 mars dernier, Mighty Earth, France Nature Environnement et Sherpa publiaient un rapport sur le devoir de vigilance des entreprises françaises face à la déforestation causée par la culture du soja en Amérique du Sud, comme Bigard, le Groupe Bertrand/Quick, et E. Leclerc, parmi d’autres. Ce rapport relevait l’absence de prise en compte de ce risque par l’immense majorité des entreprises du secteur agro-alimentaire interpellées, alors même que le soja est utilisé massivement en France dans l’alimentation du bétail, notamment le porc et les volailles.

Les entreprises françaises peuvent-elles encore se fournir auprès de Cargill ? 

Cargill, l’un des principaux importateurs de soja en France, a publié la semaine dernière son nouveau plan d’action soja (en anglais). Pour Glenn Hurowitz, directeur de Mighty Earth  :

« Cargill bricole des solutions médiocres alors que l'Amérique du Sud est en train d’être réduite en cendres. Si l’on regarde de plus près ce plan d’action, il apparait que le seul véritable engagement pris par l’entreprise est de respecter la loi, comme si elle pouvait choisir ne pas la respecter... Tant que Cargill ne cessera pas de s’approvisionner auprès de fournisseurs impliqués dans la destruction d’écosystèmes, les autres compagnies devraient réfléchir mûrement avant de se fournir auprès de Cargill. »

Ce plan d’action est également un échec pour le PDG de Cargill, David MacLennan, qui s'était engagé à plusieurs reprises à mettre fin à la déforestation, et qui a aujourd’hui échoué à mettre en œuvre ses engagements.

Si nos organisations accueillent favorablement la volonté affichée par Cargill d’investir dans la préservation des forêts, l’expérience montre que les résultats de tels investissements, réalisés en l'absence de politiques strictes de conservation, ne sont pas à la hauteur de la crise actuelle. Ils ne sauraient remplacer de véritables mesures de prévention des atteintes à l’environnement et aux droits humains, et une mise en œuvre effective de ces mesures.

Les entreprises françaises doivent s’engager à lutter contre la déforestation importée

Au regard de la faiblesse de ce plan d’action, nos organisations appellent les entreprises françaises concernées à cesser l’approvisionnement direct ou indirect en matières premières agricoles dont l’origine ne peut être garantie libre de violations des droits humains ou abus environnementaux. Ces dernières doivent à tout prix investir dans la traçabilité sur 100% des volumes de soja utilisés dans leur chaîne d’approvisionnement et s’engager immédiatement et concrètement pour un moratoire couvrant toutes les forêts d’Amérique latine.

Pour aller plus loin :

Devoir de vigilance et déforestation – Le cas oublié du soja, mars 2019
Quand la déforestation s’invite à notre table – La catastrophe environnementale et humaine qui se cache derrière la viande et les produits laitiers français, mars 2018


New Soy Action Plan Shows Cargill is Fiddling While South America Burns

In response to Cargill’s announcement of a new Soy Action Plan, Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz released the following statement:

“Cargill is fiddling while South America burns. When you drill down, the only commitment they have made is to obey the law, which we would hope they would do anyway. Cargill’s new policy is such a nothingburger that even their largest customer, McDonald’s, wouldn’t dare serve it.

“The amount Cargill has pledged toward forest protection is but a tiny fraction of the amount they spend funding forest destruction through their purchases and financing. Until Cargill stops purchasing from suppliers engaged in destruction of native ecosystems or human rights abuses, it’s hard to see how change will happen. The Soy Action Plan released today is a total failure of leadership from Cargill CEO David MacLennan, who has repeatedly committed to end deforestation, basked in positive attention for his commitments, but then utterly failed to take actions that would actually stop deforestation.

“Many people inside Cargill are just as disappointed and frustrated as we are that Cargill continues to drive massive deforestation when there are 1.6 billion acres of degraded land where agriculture could be expanded sustainably.

“Cargill’s dithering means that their customers are selling meat linked to totally avoidable deforestation. The question now is whether Cargill customers like Ahold Delhaize and McDonald’s will take any action to shift business from Cargill or allow the company to continue to tie them and their customers to deforestation and displacement of indigenous communities.

“While we welcome Cargill's stated willingness to invest money in incentivizing forest conservation, they seem to have no idea how the money would be spent or how it would get the job done. Unfortunately, the track record of such investments in the absence of strict conservation policies is poor, and they are no substitute for a real policy and real commitment.”

Contact:

Alex Armstrong

[email protected]


Soja et déforestation : interpellation des entreprises françaises de la grande distribution

Soja et déforestation : interpellation des entreprises françaises de la grande distribution

 

Il y a un an, nos associations interpellaient Auchan, Bigard, Carrefour, Casino, Cooperl, LDC, Lactalis, Sodexo, Système U et onze autres entreprises du secteur agro-alimentaire et de la grande distribution afin de les alerter sur la déforestation massive causée par la culture du soja dans plusieurs régions d’Amérique Latine, et sur la présence possible de ce soja dans leur chaîne d’approvisionnement.

Deux ans après l’entrée en vigueur de la loi sur le devoir de vigilance des sociétés mères et entreprises donneuses d’ordre du 27 mars 2017, les associations Mighty Earth, France Nature Environnement et Sherpa publient un rapport commun analysant les pratiques en matière de vigilance et de diligence raisonnable d’une vingtaine d’entreprises françaises du secteur agroalimentaire et de la grande distribution.

Nos organisations demandaient à ces entreprises d’indiquer les mesures mises en œuvre pour identifier ce risque dans leur chaîne d’approvisionnement (le soja étant notamment utilisé massivement pour l’alimentation du bétail), et pour prévenir ces atteintes.

Depuis, certaines ont répondu à nos interpellations, et d’autres ont publié leur premier Plan de vigilance, exigé par la loi sur le devoir de vigilance. Dans le rapport publié aujourd’hui, nos organisations analysent plus particulièrement les mesures relatives à la prévention de la déforestation liée à la culture du soja mises en œuvre par ces sociétés.

Les principales conclusions sont les suivantes :

  • On observe une longueur d’avance des sociétés couvertes par la loi ;
  • Des lacunes majeures en matière d’identification et de prévention des risques subsistent pour assurer la conformité des sociétés à la loi.

Les ONG appellent urgemment les entreprises concernées à rectifier leurs pratiques. Elles demandent également aux pouvoirs publics de mettre toutes les entreprises au diapason de la vigilance en améliorant le suivi de la loi, en abaissant ses seuils d’application et en s’engageant effectivement dans l’adoption d’une législation ambitieuse au niveau européen.

Si les lacunes dégagées par l’étude persistent, certaines des sociétés pourraient faire l’objet de procédures sur le plan judiciaire, y compris sur le fondement de la loi sur le devoir de vigilance.

  • Pour Adeline Favrel, coordinatrice du réseau Forêt de FNE :

“A l’heure du changement climatique et du déclin de la biodiversité, la lutte contre la déforestation est un enjeu majeur. Elle est occasionnée majoritairement – à plus de 70%- par l’agriculture, et particulièrement la culture intensive du soja en Amérique latine. Aujourd’hui, la France s’est dotée de 2 outils intéressants pour lutter contre la déforestation : la loi sur le devoir de vigilance et la Stratégie nationale de Lutte contre la Déforestation Importée (SNDI), mais il faut encore que cette dernière mette en œuvre rapidement des actions concrètes.”

  • Pour Sandra Cossart, directrice de Sherpa :

“Depuis l’adoption de la loi sur le devoir de vigilance, les entreprises ne peuvent plus ignorer les risques d’atteintes aux droits de l’homme et à l’environnement dans leur chaîne d’approvisionnement. Nos interpellations l’année dernière visaient à rappeler à ces entreprises que les risques liés à la déforestation causée par le soja les concernent directement. Depuis, certaines nous ont répondu, d’autres ont évoqué la question dans leur plan de vigilance, d’autres n’ont rien fait du tout ! Dans les semaines qui viennent, les entreprises concernées vont devoir justifier qu’elles ont mis en œuvre des mesures adaptées, et ce de manière effective, à défaut de quoi elles s’exposent à des procédures judiciaires.”

  • Pour Me Sébastien Mabile, avocat associé de Seattle Avocats :

“Les dommages résultant de la culture extensive du soja en Amérique du Sud constituent sans aucun doute des “atteintes graves” à l’environnement et aux droits humains au sens de la loi du 27 mars 2017 sur le devoir de vigilance des entreprises donneuses d’ordre. Les entreprises qui utilisent ce soja dans leur chaîne d’approvisionnement doivent ainsi prendre des “actions adaptées” “d’atténuation des risques ou de prévention des atteintes graves”. Force est de constater que le compte n’y est pas et que la majorité des entreprises visées par ce rapport s’exposent à un risque contentieux important”


Mighty Earth Responds to Cargill's Announcement of Revisions to Forests, Soy, and Human Rights Policies

In response to Cargill’s publication of its latest policies regarding soy, forests, and human rights, Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz released the following statement:

"Cargill is moving in the right direction by extending their promise to end deforestation by 2020 to also protect other critical ecosystems like South America’s Cerrado, Gran Chaco, and Llanos. This announcement has the potential to be the starting point that leads to a major breakthrough for more sustainable meat, cocoa, and palm oil.

"Our field investigations have shown that despite multiple commitments to protect forests over the last decade, Cargill often lags behind their competitors in the implementation of those commitments. In 2014, Cargill joined other companies in a CEO-level commitment to end deforestation across its major supply chains by 2020. Since then, we and others have published repeated investigations documenting extensive deforestation in its soy supply chain in Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.

"Over the last three weeks, I’ve been happy to hold constructive discussions about these issues several times with Cargill CEO David MacLennan; his personal focus gives us hope that Cargill has the potential to turn a corner to address deforestation across its soy, cocoa, and palm oil supply chains. Cargill also needs to dramatically improve its performance to stop destroying native vegetation and allowing fertilizer and manure to pollute America’s waterways.

"To win the trust of customers, communities, and the public, Cargill needs to show right away that it will enforce this policy by ensuring that any supplier that engages in destruction of native ecosystems is not part of their supply chain. It also needs to spread its own decade-long success in working with other companies to eliminate deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Amazon to the other soy-growing ecosystems. This is the world’s most successful private sector environmental initiative, and there’s no reason to confine it to just the Brazilian Amazon while massive deforestation continues in other areas. Cargill must also implement agroforestry practices in their cocoa supply chain and ensure farmers receive decent wages so that they can provide the sustainable chocolate that the world’s consumers demand.

"We are hopeful that soon we will be able to praise Cargill not just for promises, but for action. We will be watching closely."


China’s Largest Food Trader Announces Support for Ending Deforestation in South America, Putting Pressure on US-Based Cargill

COFCO, China’s state-owned food processing company and the country’s largest food trader, has announced support for an extension of the Amazonian Soy Moratorium to the other forest and savannah regions of South America and new efforts to address deforestation in commodity supply chains. In response, Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz released the following statement:

 

“COFCO has recognized that you don’t need deforestation to supply China’s food. Indeed, COFCO knows that protecting native ecosystems is both essential to safeguarding food security and an ‘ethical imperative.’

 

“Scientific studies have shown that continued deforestation in South America will dramatically reduce soy harvests within 25 years and have demonstrated that agriculture can be expanded on Latin America’s more than one billion acres of degraded land without threatening native ecosystems or climate. We’ve been advising COFCO on the implementation of their sustainability policies and have seen clear signs of their commitment to act.

 

“In calling for an expansion of the highly successful Amazonian Soy Moratorium to other endangered ecosystems in South America, COFCO has joined industry leaders Louis-Dreyfus and Wilmar. There’s simply no excuse for laggards like Cargill to continue driving deforestation.”

Additional resources

 


New Investigation Links One of Germany’s Largest Poultry Producers to Forest Destruction in Latin America

Today, a new report released by Mighty Earth and Robin Wood revealed strong evidence that Rothkötter, one of Germany’s largest poultry producers, is buying soy from two companies – Cargill and Bunge – driving illegal forest destruction in Latin America.

The report, Raubbau für Geflügelfleisch or Germany: Meet your Meat, calls on Rothkötter to remove soy harvested on deforested land from its supply chain. In response, environmentalists have gathered at a feed plant owned by Rothkötter in Lower Saxony, Germany, to protest the company.

Rothkötter is a major poultry supplier, “producing” 3.5 million chicks every week for customers including supermarkets and fast food chains like Lidl, Aldi Sud, and Netto Marken-Discount. It has been estimated that one out of every three chickens consumed in Germany comes from Rothkötter.

Using satellite mapping and vessel and navigation data, our team documented ships traveling from Cargill and Bunge facilities in Amsterdam to Rothkötter’s main feed plant in Eurohafen, Germany. While vessel tracking was unable to distinguish between Cargill and Bunge facilities, both companies are notorious for driving massive deforestation for soy across Latin America. Earlier this year the Brazilian government’s IBAMA environmental enforcement agency caught Cargill and Bunge purchasing soy from areas under embargo due to illegal deforestation.

In January 2018, Mighty Earth and Robin Wood asked key German meat producers, including Rothkötter, whether they purchase soy from Bunge or Cargill and demanded the implementation of supply chain traceability systems. Rothkötter declined to answer the inquiry.

While both Cargill and Bunge have published sustainability policies committing otherwise, their supply chain continues to drive deforestation by resisting efforts to expand deforestation-free production. And they have found willing buyers in Germany, where their soy is used by food and meat processers to feed chickens, pigs and cattle to produce meat, eggs and dairy products sold in German supermarkets and restaurants.

“Rothkötter must take immediate action to remove soy deforestation from the company’s supply chain,” said Mighty Earth Campaign Director Anahita Yousefi. “By associating with Cargill and Bunge, Rothkötter is complicit in forest destruction and human rights violations in Latin America.”

The report pressures Rothkötter’s customers to halt all business relations with the poultry producer until the company commits to only source sustainable soy for animal feed.

"Aldi Süd, Lidl and the parent company of Netto Marken-Discount, Edeka, have all committed to 100 percent sustainable soy feed. As customers of Rothkötter, both their commitment to sustainability and their credibility are at stake,” said Tina Lutz, tropical forest advisor to Robin Wood. “These companies can no longer hide behind their private labels to sell Rothkötter meat.”


Governments failing to tackle meat over-consumption to meet climate targets

A new report from the Changing Markets Foundation and Mighty Earth reveals that there is a complete lack of public policies in place to ensure the food sector is part of the solution to climate change.

In many EU countries and in the US, meat consumption is more than double the recommended levels for healthy diets. However, the report, Growing the Good:

The Case for Low Carbon Transition in the Food Sector, points to the fact that government policies universally support unsustainable agricultural production systems dominated by intensive meat and dairy farmers and producers.

In contrast, the report highlights positive market trends, notably the growth of plant-based foods and ground-breaking innovation in meat alternatives. The number of vegans and vegetarians is also growing rapidly[1][2] and many more people, particularly among the younger generations, are reducing their meat intake. Instead of fuelling such societal trends, politicians are succumbing to pressure from meat producers by introducing new legislative measures aiming to restrict market growth for alternatives, such as the recent French ban on terms like ‘vegan burger’.

Nusa Urbancic, Campaigns Director at the Changing Markets Foundation, commented:

“The lack of public policies in this sector is alarming. If meat and dairy consumption increases as forecast, there will be almost no room within the total allowable global emissions budget for any sectors other than agriculture by 2050.  

“The window of opportunity to address climate change is closing, while its consequences are already being felt. This year’s droughts resulted in food price increases and even more public subsidies to this polluting sector – mostly to finance feed imports. Unsustainable bail-outs should end, and governments should instead finance the transition towards a low emissions food system with more environmentally friendly farming methods and healthier diets for all.”

Animal agriculture is today responsible for around 16.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, equivalent to the emissions from combustion of all transport fuels. The sector is also responsible for a third of potent methane and nitrous oxide emission. A managed reduction in demand for meat and dairy could increase humanity’s chances to stay below 1.5°C temperature increase and avoid climate the ‘cliff edge’ as highlighted by the last week’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.[3]

Low carbon transition in the food sector is also crucial to reduce the pressure on land. Currently, 70-80% of agricultural land is dedicated to animal agriculture, either directly for grazing or to grow increasing quantities of feed. Reducing the number of animals is key to put this land to use for reforestation, climate sequestration and also to more sustainable farming methods.

Anahita Yousefi, Mighty Earth Campaigns Director, said:

“The complete absence of public policies to promote a shift towards plant-based diets means that this critical dietary shift is left to the whims of the market and personal choice. The public is being forced to foot the bill for environmental impact of animal agriculture and the market is being denied opportunities for more sustainable models of food production and healthier diets.”

Bérénice Dupeux, Policy Officer for Agriculture at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said:
This report is yet more evidence that to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, the agriculture sector needs to significantly reduce meat and dairy production to reduce overall emissions – just as many other industries are doing. The number of extreme climate events is increasing. As this summer’s droughts showed us, we cannot afford to pour money into continuing the type of agriculture that is exacerbating climate change and leave environmental ambition to good will. Given the immense scale of the problem, our political leaders cannot turn a blind eye on climate change and they must address it within the current reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. Farm ministers and MEPs have a moral obligation to put the rights of future generations first.

The Changing Markets Foundation has drafted a series of recommendations to governments around the world to ensure that food production plays its part in the low carbon transition:

  1. Updating climate targets to include the mitigation potential of animal agriculture and to reflect the 1.5 degree temperature increase pathway.
  2. Updating fiscal policies to reduce meat demand and consumption. So-called meat taxes have been recommended by several reputable institutions, as tax on goods deemed to be unhealthy and/or damaging to the environment.
  3. Establishing implementation strategies for dietary guidelines for the shift to healthier diets including the reduction of animal products.
  4. Shifting subsidies away from polluting intensive animal farms and addressing negative externalities of animal agriculture.
  5. Incentivising the production of diverse and underused protein crops, such as pulses, for human consumption.
  6. Funding the research and development of plant-based and other meat alternatives, such as clean meat.

[1] The Vegetarian Resource Group (2016) How many adults in the US are vegetarian and vegan? [Online] Available from: https://www.vrg.org/nutshell/Polls/2016_adults_veg.htm

[2] Chiorando, M. (2017) Veganism Skyrockets by 600% In America To 6% Of Population. Plant Based News [Online] Available from: https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/veganism-skyrockets-by-600-in-america-over-3-years-to-6-of-population

[3] Global Warming of 1.5 °C, (October 2018) http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/


Breaking: Soy Giant Louis Dreyfus Announces Zero Deforestation Policy, Throwing Down Gauntlet to Competitors

Today, Louis Dreyfus Company, one of the world’s Big 4 commodity traders, became the first large soy company to announce a specific, credible, detailed policy to eliminate destruction of native ecosystems and endangered wildlife from its soy supply chain, and uphold the rights of local and indigenous communities in the areas in which it operates. This policy sets Louis Dreyfus as a leader in the soy industry in terms of moving towards the deforestation-free soy supply chain that the market is demanding.

“As a leader in agribusiness, LDC has a key role to play in addressing this challenge,” said Gonzalo Ramírez Martiarena, Chief Executive Officer at LDC said in a statement.

Mighty Earth, which has worked with coalition partners like Rainforest Foundation Norway, Fern, ActionAid, published a series of exposés about large scale deforestation connected to soy traders that makes its way into global meat supply chains, hailed the move.

“This is a breakthrough from one of the world’s largest traders with huge significance to the global meat industry,” said Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz. “There’s now no reason for McDonald’s and other companies to continue doing business with deforesters like Cargill and Bunge.”

Also today, UK supermarket chain Tesco also announced a deforestation-free policy for its soy, showing that demand for responsible soy is growing across the supply chain.

“While Tesco’s policy lacks meaningful timelines, we are encouraged that the company has committed to rapidly investigate and take action on its supply chain in response to the Brazilian government’s large fines for Cargill and Bunge for illegal destruction of native vegetation," Hurowitz said. "We hope today’s announcement by Louis Dreyfus convinces Tesco and others they can move much faster.”

Louis Dreyfus’ policy applies to all of its soy supply chains in South America.  This commitment shows that it is possible to expand agriculture on Latin America’s existing one billion-plus acres of already degraded land, instead of clearing intact native vegetation for soy.

“Louis Dreyfus is committing to and has already made progress on providing a verified large scale source of deforestation-free soy for the world,” Hurowitz said. “LDC has shown today that it is possible to source deforestation-free soy on a large scale. We call on the entire meat supply chain to immediately shift their sourcing to responsible suppliers like Louis Dreyfus.”

In its statement, Louis Dreyfus emphasized the importance of other companies also acting to protect native ecosystems.

“We really believe that working together towards [these] goals is most important. Because just as we all face the same challenges, we can only address them if we work together,” said Ramírez Martiarena.

“We’re thrilled that this new policy has been developed by the CEO, board, and key stakeholders throughout the company,” Hurowitz said. “This is the kind of high-level decision making that has been lacking among Louis Dreyfus’ competitors, and is one reason companies like Cargill and Bunge continue to run into huge deforestation and illegality issues that embarrass their customers. Ultimately, we hope that Louis Dreyfus’ action is a wake-up call for its competitors that they need to move rapidly to set up industry-wide action to eliminate destruction of native vegetation

“Louis Dreyfus has made enormous progress in ensuring their supply chain is free of deforestation, but there’s more to do, and they recognize that,” said Hurowitz. “As next steps, the company should list its soy suppliers online, as is already common practice in the palm oil industry, report on their performance, and develop a clear timeline for implementation.”

 


Breaking: Cargill and Bunge Fined for Destroying Protected Natural Areas

The Brazilian government’s IBAMA environmental enforcement agency announced this week that it has caught red handed five soy traders and dozens of commercial farmers purchasing soy connected to the destruction of protected natural areas.

According to wire reports, the companies caught in IBAMA’s “Operation Soy Sauce” driving illegal deforestation are the American agribusiness giants Cargill and Bunge, as well as ABC Indústria e Comércio SA, JJ Samar Agronegócios Eireli, and Uniggel Proteção de Plantas Ltda. The fines totaled $29 million, or 105.7 reais.

“Again and again, we have warned Cargill and Bunge that they need to stop their large-scale deforestation,” said Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of Mighty Earth. Mighty Earth has conducted a series of undercover investigations that found Cargill and Bunge driving extensive deforestation in Latin America, including in the Cerrado, the region where IBAMA identified these companies engaged in illegal ecosystem clearance. Footage, including aerial drone videos showing the vast scope of deforestation, from the Cerrado field investigation can be found here. “Despite years of evidence and calls from their customers for change, Cargill and Bunge have continued to drive destruction of these extraordinary natural ecosystems.

“Bunge and Cargill have dishonestly told their customers and the public that the Brazilian government doesn’t want stronger conservation measures, even after the Brazilian environmental minister called for them to stop deforestation in the Cerrado in 2016. This action shows that the Brazilian government continues to want these American companies to stop exploiting their land and people.”

61 major soy end users, including McDonald’s, Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour, Unilever, and Nestle recently issued a formal call to soy and meat companies to stop all destruction of the Cerrado.

“McDonald’s, Carrefour and other companies that sell meat and dairy need to be asked why they are still selling products raised on soy from Cargill or Bunge, when these companies have driven so much destruction,” Hurowitz said. “Companies like McDonald’s and Carrefour that sell products connected to Cargill and Bunge are aiding and abetting their criminal activity. Responsible meat companies shouldn’t make their customers complicit in environmental crimes with every bit of a Big Mac.”

The Cerrado is home to five percent of the world’s biodiversity, including species facing serious threats like jaguar, giant anteater, maned wolf, and marsh deer. The region is also critical for humans, providing the source for half of Brazil’s watershed, and 90 percent of its hydropower.

According to Reuters, Bunge responded to the law enforcement action by saying that “its grain purchases in the area where it was fined are in line with best practices and that it had consulted public databases on banned areas.”

“Bunge is defending itself by saying it thought it thought destroying these areas was legal. The Brazilian government clearly doesn’t agree,” Hurowitz said. “But if Bunge just took the simple step of banning all deforestation in its supply chain, it wouldn’t be facing these risks at all.”


New Investigation Finds Vast Deforestation, Fires, Public Health Impacts Driven By European Meat Industry

New Investigation Finds Vast Deforestation, Fires, Public Health Impacts Driven By European Meat Industry

A new investigation by Mighty Earth, Rainforest Foundation Norway, and Fern reveals large-scale deforestation, fires, and human rights abuses in Argentina and Paraguay’s Gran Chaco connected to the global meat industry. The findings are documented in “The Avoidable Crisis” report released today, revealing how major meat and soy companies are unnecessarily driving extensive deforestation for soy, which is transported around the world to raise livestock.

Europe imports the majority of its soy from Latin America, which was about 27.9 million tons of soy and soybean products in 2016. This soy is sent to feed and meat processors and used to raise the livestock for the chicken, pork, beef, eggs, and dairy sold by many European supermarkets and restaurants. Companies like Carrefour, Lidl, Marks & Spencer and Aldi have a responsibility to ensure to their customers that they are not selling meat or dairy raised on this soy.

Our investigation found links to American agribusinesses, Cargill and Bunge, two of the primary companies driving many of these harmful practices. These companies import large quantities of soy into Europe. We previously documented Cargill and Bunge driving massive deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Cerrado and Bolivian Amazon Basin in an earlier investigation. These companies have resisted efforts to expand deforestation-free production.

 

Investigation

For the investigation, the researchers used satellite mapping to identify areas of ongoing, rapid deforestation and found large areas of the Gran Chaco biome being cleared and burned for soy production. The Gran Chaco is an extraordinarily biodiverse ecosystem, home to native species such as the jaguar, screaming hairy armadillo, and giant anteater, as well as indigenous communities like the Ayoreo, Chamacoco, Enxet, Guarayo and many others.

The research field team visited twenty sites in the Chaco undergoing deforestation for soy. The team documented the destruction by aerial drone, as well as on-the-ground interviews with farmers and local community members. The team encountered massive soy plantations, fires set to level native forests and vegetation, and burnt and cleared habitats. See here for images and videos from the investigation (all images are available for download and use).  

“The level of destruction was astounding. We documented bulldozers in action clearing large areas of intact forests and grasslands, as well as huge fires billowing smoke into the air,” said Mighty Earth Policy Director Anahita Yousefi. “While the Gran Chaco has traditionally received less attention than other biomes like the Brazilian Amazon, it’s a vitally important ecosystem and there’s no reason to destroy it.”

Hidden Middlemen

The investigation found that American agribusinesses Cargill and Bunge, the two companies we documented driving massive deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Cerrado and Bolivian Amazon Basin in a previous investigation, were also identified as major purchasers of this soy. Both Cargill and Bunge have public sustainability policies, but when we contacted them about our report findings, they failed to provide any information about the level of traceability in their supply chain. Without sufficient traceability, these companies cannot know the true origin of the soy they purchase. Cargill and Bunge have failed to put in place meaningful mechanisms to ensure that they are not driving these harmful practices.

“As long as the soy traders don’t take immediate action to end deforestation, it becomes the responsibility of companies within the meat industry, retailers and investors to demand that the soy traders guarantee deforestation-free soy. Investors like the Norwegian Pension Fund Global should take strong action towards portfolio company Bunge because of their repeated failure to address deforestation,” said Rainforest Foundation Norway’s policy advisor, Ida Breckan Claudi.

Human Impact

In addition to the environmental destruction, the team found significant public health impacts and social conflicts driven by this industrial soy production. Many of the communities living near these plantations, including indigenous peoples who fully depend on the forest, have had their land encroached upon by  new soy plantations, and in many cases have been forced off of the land their families have lived on for generations. In addition, these communities have experienced sharp increases in public health issues like cancers, birth defects, miscarriages, and other illnesses linked to the heavy pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate used to grow soy, often sprayed by planes directly overhead.

“The EU is a leading importer of commodities grown on land that has been illegally cleared of its forests. This is disastrous for forests, people and the climate. The heavy use of pesticides in producing these commodities is also seriously damaging peoples’ health. The EU has regulated its imports of illegally sourced timber and fish.  It is time for it to do the same with forest risk commodities, so that they are free from deforestation, land grabs and other human rights abuses,” said Nicole Polsterer, Fern’s consumption campaigner.

A Proven Alternative

Ultimately, the destruction happening in the Gran Chaco of Argentina and Paraguay is completely avoidable. There are more than 650 million hectares of previously cleared land across Latin America, where agriculture could expand without threatening native ecosystems. In Brazil, the soy industry, including Cargill and Bunge, implemented the Brazilian Soy Moratorium more than a decade ago. This system shifts new production to already cleared lands and has been extremely successful in almost entirely eliminating deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Amazon. Unfortunately, this initiative has been confined just to the Brazilian Amazon, allowing deforestation to continue at scale in Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia, and the Brazilian Cerrado.  

Mighty Earth, RFN, Fern,  and a coalition of other organization are calling on soy companies to immediately extend this success in eliminating deforestation to other soy-growing regions in Latin America, including the Gran Chaco, as well as the Bolivian Amazon and Brazilian Cerrado.