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Greenpeace welcomes the extension of the Amazon soya moratorium


Brasilia, Brazil — Greenpeace welcomes the decision to extend by one year the Amazon soya moratorium, made today at a press conference in Brasilia by the soya traders association (Abiove), together with Brazil’s new Environment Minister Carlos Minc, Greenpeace and other NGOs.

The moratorium, which prohibits the purchase of soya from newly deforested areas in the Amazon, or from farmers using indentured or forced labourers, was the direct result of a Greenpeace investigation documented in our 2006 report “Eating up the Amazon” and our subsequent campaign. The moratorium will now run until July 2009. (1)

Several soya producers had begun using rising agricultural commodity prices and global demand for grain to pressure Abiove (2) and traders not to extend the moratorium. A handful even used the global food crisis to justify further Amazon deforestation. “The decision to extend the moratorium against the backdrop of rising commodity prices and the food crises shows that government and industry now understand that it is possible to protect the forest, combat climate change and still ensure food production,” said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon campaign director in Brazil.

Greenpeace, together with other NGOs, will continue to help Abiove to bring effective governance to the soya industry in the Amazon. Greenpeace warns however, that a one year extension may not be long enough to build the tools necessary to ensure that soya production does not result in further deforestation. (3)

An alliance of soya consumer companies, led by McDonalds, Marks & Spencer and Carrefour also welcomed the extension decision and, in a joint statement, renewed its commitment to remaining actively engaged. In Brazil, the companies Wal-Mart, Sadia and Yoki also supported the statement.

The direct involvement of the Brazilian government is key to providing the framework essential for farmers to comply with the law. (4)

“The moratorium is a successful initiative by civil society and the soya industry. The Federal Government is entering the process now and is committed to register and license all rural properties in the Amazon biome,” Minc told reporters. “Inspired by the success of this initiative, the Brazilian government is negotiating similar approaches with the timber and beef industries.”

“We are delighted to see the new environment minister take an active role in ensuring the continuation of the moratorium. Such high level support helps Abiove and the traders convince farmers to support the initiative. His support also serves as a warning to those who continue to destroy forests that their soya will be rejected by the market,” concluded Adario.

Tropical forest destruction is responsible for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, second only to the energy sector. 75% of Brazil’s emissions come from forest destruction, making it the world’s fourth largest greenhouse gas emitter.


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