SUPERMARKETS in the UK have threatened to boycott products from Brazil if the country goes ahead with plans that may accelerate the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
Tesco, Sainsburys, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons and many others are among the supermarkets that have urged the Brazilian government not to go ahead with its plans. The concern surrounds proposed legislation called Provisional Measure 910, or PL 2633/2020, which is currently making its way through Brazilian congress.
A letter signed by the supermarkets and directed to the National Congress of Brazil says the law would make it legal for private organisations to acquire public lands that are largely located in the Amazon.
Reuters reports that the bills supporters say that by legally titling the land, it would be easier for the government to enforce laws that prevent deforestation.
But critics say the bill would do the opposite, laying the foundations for further deforestation to take place on previously public land.
A draft copy of supermarkets letter published by the Retail Soy Group reads: “Should the measure pass, it would encourage further land grabbing and widespread deforestation which would jeopardise the survival of the Amazon and meeting the targets of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and undermine the rights of indigenous and traditional communities.
“We believe that it would also put at risk the ability of organisations such as ours to continue sourcing from Brazil in the future.
“We urge the Brazilian government to reconsider its stance and hope to continue working with partners in Brazil to demonstrate that economic development and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive.”
The letter also outlines the importance of the Amazon as an ecological environment, highlighting its role in regulating the global climate.
It was signed by 40 companies in total, including Nandos, Ocado, Moy Park and others not from the UK.
The Amazon is the worlds largest rainforest by a wide margin. It covers up to 3.2 million square miles, with two thirds of the rainforest located in Brazil, according to environmental science news site Mongabay.
It is estimated to contain 390 billion trees, as well as 10 percent of all known species on Earth, including 2.5 million species of insects.
But it is also the worlds largest deforestation front. The World Wildlife Federation estimates that over a quarter of the Amazon biome will lose its trees by 2030 at the current deforestation rate.
The WWF adds that between 2001 and 2012, deforestation in the Amazon averages 1.4 million hectares ever year – equivalent to over 5,405 miles per year, or nearly 15 square miles every single day.
Most of the Amazons destruction – around 70 percent – is down to the farming of cattle.
Pressure from environmental groups as well as initiatives from the private sector have led to declining deforestation rates in recent years.
Indeed, yesterdays letter to the Brazilian government highlights “Brazils leadership on forest law”, mentioning agreements such as the Amazon Soy Moratorium which produced a drop in deforestation.
Reuters reports that the bill has been “substantially diluted” compared its original conception.
But evidently, concerns still remain over the implications it could have for the Amazon.
A potential vote is due on the bills passing could go ahead today, according to Brazils lower house speaker Rodrigo Maia.
Its understood that the bill has the backing of Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, and his administration.