May 21, 2020
Agribusiness companies, investors and supermarkets warn possible boycott over Brazil's new forest law
40 agribusiness companies and supermarkets such as signed an open letter urging Brazil's lawmakers to reject a new law that could lead to more deforestation for soy crops and cattle farming, Reuters reported.
The letter's signatories include Sweden's AP7 pension fund, Norwegian insurer Storebrand and British supermarkets like Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Morrisons.
Settlers in the Brazilian Amazon have cleared forest land to grow major agriculture exports such as soybean and cattle. The new law will allow the settlers to obtain deeds for these properties, which are public land.
In the open letter, the companies said the proposed law, backed by Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, will make it difficult for them to source for Brazilian products in the future, as it encourages land grabbing and deforestation of the Amazon.
Bill supporters say the new law will force owners to follow environmental laws and limit Amazon deforestation.
On the other hand, environmentalists say the new bill rewards land speculators for the illegal deforestation and potentially allow for more forest clearing and settlement on public land for agriculture use.
Imazon, an Amazon research institute said the new law could quicken deforestation by 11,000-16,000 square kilometres.