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40 Global Brands Threaten Boycott Over ‘Land-Grabbing’ Brazilian Legislation

A diverse coalition of 40 international companies—including the UK’s top supermarkets, a Swedish pension fund, and Norwegian asset manager Storebrand—are threatening boycotts should Brazil’s Bolsonaro government push through a bill that will accelerate the devastating deforestation of the Amazon.

Marks & Spencer, Sainsburys, and Tesco are among the corporate heavyweights signing an open letter to Bolsonaro that calls on him to drop Bill 2633/5, writes Climate News Network. Citing an estimate by the Imazon Institute, a Brazil-based sustainable development group, Climate News Network notes that the bill could lead to added Amazonian deforestation of up to 16,000 square kilometres.

“Should the measure pass, it would encourage further land grabbing and widespread deforestation that would jeopardize the survival of the Amazon and meeting the targets of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and undermine the rights of Indigenous and traditional communities,” the letter states. “It would also put at risk the ability of organizations such as ours to continue sourcing from Brazil in the future.” 

Since receiving the letter, Brazil’s congress has postponed a scheduled reading of the bill, writes Climate News Network. Also creating static for Bolsonaro’s ambitions to let soy and cattle interests run riot in the Amazon: the recent publication of a video clip of Environment Minister Ricardo Salles urging his fellow legislators to push through Bill 2633/5 while the media is preoccupied by the pandemic. That moved echoed a similar recent statement by Alberta Energy Minister and former pipeline executive Sonya Savage.

The departure from his ostensible mandate is par for the course for Salles, whose 16 months on the job have been “disastrous” for the Amazon, Climate News  Network writes. “He has fired veteran staff, weakened enforcement, and effectively encouraged illegal deforestation.”