Support for Cerrado Manifesto Triples, Momentum Builds for Cargill and Bunge to Agree to End Deforestation for Soy, Meat

Sydney Jones

Press Secretary

[email protected]

Carole Mitchell

Sr. Director Communications

[email protected]

61 leading meat, dairy and soy companies and retailers announced today their support for the Cerrado Manifesto, a pledge to eliminate clearance of native vegetation in the Brazilian Cerrado for large-scale agriculture. This number represents a tripling of support for the Manifesto since its release in October 2017. We appreciate the leadership of companies like Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Unilever, and Carrefour on this initiative.

Cargill and Bunge, two of the world’s largest agribusinesses that are operating in the areas of Latin America with the highest levels of deforestation, are facing significantly increased pressure from their customers to expand their own success in eliminating deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Amazon to the Brazilian Cerrado, and other priority landscapes in Latin America.

“It’s not just environmentalists calling for an end to senseless and avoidable deforestation in South America,” said Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz. “Cargill and Bunge’s own customers simply don’t understand why their suppliers need to continue driving destruction of native ecosystems when there are half a billion acres of degraded land in South America.”

Mighty Earth, together with a group of technical experts, academics, companies, and civil society organizations has developed a technical proposal for a land-use change monitoring system for soy-growing areas in Latin America. The cost would be between $750,000 and $1,000,000 to establish, one seventy-thousandth of these companies’ annual profit. Once the system is up and running, the annual cost could drop to possibly half that amount.

“The wide support for the Cerrado Manifesto clearly shows that major companies want to break their links to deforestation through their supply chains. The world has through the Sustainable Development Goals agreed to stop deforestation by 2020, but a company like Cargill has not set a similar goal for itself. It is time for all suppliers, including Cargill and Bunge, to take a firm stand against deforestation, and support a non-acceptance of further destruction,” says Nils Hermann Ranum, head of policy and campaigns at Rainforest Foundation Norway.

The Manifesto was released on October 25, 2017 with 23 initial signatories. The pledge comes after Mighty Earth and Rainforest Foundation Norway’s 2016 “Mystery Meat” report, which exposed how the Brazilian Cerrado, a biodiverse savannah home to many threatened wildlife species and indigenous communities, is being destroyed for soy production connected to the global meat industry. The report prompted widespread media coverage and a growing awareness within the global community of the need for a joint private-public monitoring system to protect the Cerrado and other soy growing regions of Latin America like the Brazilian Amazon for further clearance for industrial agriculture.

“Meat production has a lot of sustainability issues, but stopping avoidable deforestation should be an easy win for these companies,” Hurowitz said.

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