World Bank, Wal-Mart Take Stand Against Brazilian Deforestation Beef

amazon cattle deforestation photo

photo: Leo Freitas

Shame and blame appears to be working in the Amazon. A short while ago Greenpeace released a report on the deforestation impact that the cattle industry in Brazil was having and how several major international shoe brands may be supporting that forest destruction through the purchase of Brazilian leather. Well, in the last day or so the World Bank has withdrawn a loan to one of Brazil's cattle giants; and Brazil's three-largest supermarket chains (one of which is Wal-Mart) have announced that they will suspend contracts with cattle companies associated with deforestation:Up to $90 Million in Funding Pulled
The action by the World Bank comes via its private lending arm, the International Finance Corporation, and pulls the last $30 million of $90 million loan from Brazilian cattle firm Bertin. It's anticipated that the remaining $60 million will asked to be returned.

No word from the World Bank on if Greenpeace's report directly led to the loan suspension, but that's how it's being spun. In their press release, the organization stated,

The move comes two weeks after the Greenpeace released its report, "Slaughtering the Amazon". The report revealed how the financial backing of the Brazilian cattle industry by the IFC and President Lula's government via its national development bank (BNDES) has led the industry to become the largest single source of deforestation in the world and a major source of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Big Three Brazilian Supermarkets to Cut Off Deforestation Beef Suppiers
At the same time, Mongabay reports that at a meeting of the Brazil Association of Supermarkets (Abras), the nation's three largest supermarket chains, Wal-Mart, Carrefour, and Pão de Açúcar, will be suspending their contracts with beef suppliers found to be involved in deforestation.

A statement from Abras said the association would develop guidelines and allow independent auditing to ensure that cattle products were not sourced from illegally cleared Amazon lands. Abras said the move is necessary because there is no "guarantee that the meat does not come from deforested areas in Amazonia."

Furthermore, a billion dollar lawsuit has been filed in Brazilian federal court against the cattle industry (the exact parties not being clear in the original post...) for "environmental damage."

Cattle Main Threat to Amazon
Brazil is the world's largest exporter of beef, and its cattle industry is now widely cited as being the single greatest cause of deforestation in the Amazon. Depending on who is telling you, the area of land cleared for cattle pasture in the Amazon now is greater than either Iceland or France. In either case, that's a whole heck of a lot of forest cleared for beef and leather.

Globally, deforestation and forest degradation account for about 20% of greenhouse gas emissions, more than all of the world's transportation.


Cattle Pastures in the Deforested Amazon Now the Size of Iceland
Global Shoe Brands May be Unwittingly Causing Deforestation in the Amazon
Stopping Deforestation, Greening Agriculture Better Than Carbon Capture & STorage, UNEP Report Says

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