Business

European retailers urge Brazil to abandon Amazon residents shovel

Dozens of companies have threatened to stop using Brazil’s products amid fears that the bill could accelerate deforestation.

On Wednesday, some European companies called on Brazil’s Congress to withdraw a bill deemed encouraging deforestation in the Amazon.

If the bill or similar law is pass, “we have no choice but to reconsider the protection and use of Brazil’s agricultural supply chain,” the 36 companies wrote in an open letter.

Last year, the legislature withdrew a similar plan after several companies, including some letter signatories, threatened to boycott Wednesday.

 

What do these companies say?

Retailers and investors say Brazil’s efforts to protect the environment are “increasingly inadequate” and the controversial bill could pose a greater threat to Amazon.

“Our doors remain open and we can work with Brazilian partners to support sustainable land management and agricultural development,” the letter said.

“We are willing to do this in a way that supports economic development, while defending the rights of indigenous peoples and traditional communities,” he said.

Signatories include retail giants such as German supermarkets Aldi and Lidl, as well as Tesco and Sainsbury’s in the UK.

 

What is the controversial proposed law?

The bill is an extension of a law granting land use rights to so-called “land hoarders” living in the Amazon rainforest in 2009.

Critics of the proposal warn that it will undermine efforts against deforestation by rewarding the people of Shanti in the Amazon.

Advocates, on the other hand, argue that the bill could force these properties to comply with deforestation laws and include immigrants in the legal system.

Land hoarding in rainforests that illegally occupy property often reduces farmland.

Is the Brazilian signal mixed?

Wednesday’s letter also states that the plan “goes against the narrative and address of Brazil’s President Bolsonaro at a recent meeting with President Joe Bain.”

During the visit, Bolsonaro promised to increase environmental compliance funding and end illegal deforestation by 2030.

Environmentalists, however, are skeptical. The far-right leader has a history of weakening environmental regulations, including measures imposed by previous administrations to combat illegal logging.

Bolsonaro has also repeatedly committed to increasing agricultural activity in the region.

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