Bolivia & Brazil: Report and articles claim that Bunge, Burger King, Cargill and ADM are increasing deforestation & impacts on climate change; companies comment

Brazil cerrado_credit_Rosario Xavier Pixabay_https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2015/05/21/19/57/cerrado-777768_960_720.jpg

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Bunge, Burger King and Cargill to respond to allegations of lack of transparency and deforestation of lands in Bolivia and Brazil. It also invited Archer Daniels Midland/ADM to respond to allegations of involvement in the deforestation of the mentioned lands. Bunge, Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland responded. Burger King didn't respond.

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Company non-response
17 April 2017

Burger King didn't respond

Company response
29 March 2017

Bunge response

Author: Bunge (US)

Regarding the Mighty report, it does not provide adequate context…Most land use change is not directly related to the crops Bunge buys. According to Global Forest Watch, soy covers 25% of land cleared since 2011 in the MATOPIBA region, where recent deforestation has been most prevalent. Additionally, our market share for the municipalities where we operate silos in the region is only 20%. What the report gets right is that this issue cannot be addressed by one company. More companies should adopt zero deforestation commitments, apply controls to block crops grown in illegally cleared areas from entering their supply chains, report publicly on progress and collaborate with civil society on common tools. Bunge has taken all of these steps….Bunge has been actively working on reducing deforestation in key biomes for over a decade. Our work has included participation in the Soy Moratorium, support for the creation of biodiversity corridors in the Cerrado…Bunge has blocked purchases from farmers in recent years…[D]eforestation is a complex problem related to global market demand, economic development, property rights and a lack of sufficient compensation for land owners…

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Company response
29 March 2017

Cargill Response

Author: Cargill (US)

...Cargill remains committed to meeting our goals in the New York Declaration on Forests and in our own policies.  We are proud of our history of combating deforestation as a demonstration of our purpose to be the leading company in nurturing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. We are committed to find practical and scalable solutions recognizing that there will be difficult choices and trade-offs...We recognize this is a long and complex journey, but we are partnering with clients, farmers, governments and civil society groups to face this challenge, which is not easy to solve and requires time and hard work in the field...for us to have a lasting impact and ensure social inclusion into the communities we operate. We are continually evaluating the producers who supply soybeans to Cargill in the areas pointed by the recent Mighty Earth report...Cargill contests the presented data by the Mighty Earth report regarding the company's presence in the Brazilian Cerrado and the total numbers of deforestation in the region. In 2015, one year after signing the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF), Cargill launched its Policy on Forests...

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Company response
28 March 2017

Archer Daniels Midland/ADM response

Author: Archer Daniels Midland/ADM (US)

…ADM has long been a signatory of the Soy Moratorium, and we are glad to have a played a part in its ongoing, successful protection of the Amazon Biome.  ADM’s No-Deforestation Policy was created in 2015, and we have been working with our partner The Forest Trust to implement transparency and traceability within our palm and soy supply chains…ADM is committed to its No Deforestation policy implementation.  We have begun the process of engaging industry associations, NGOs, academia, and other[s]…in an open and transparent way.  We are focused on proactive efforts to help ensure soy is legally sourced. Initiatives that focus on continuous improvement, such as ADM Responsible Soy and the Doing it Right program, promote the benefits of introducing better agricultural practices and legal compliance inside the farm. From grower to consumer, everyone within the supply chain plays a vital role in protecting sensitive biomes.  We remain supportive of an industry-wide approach that can provide soy growers, and everyone along the supply chain, with a transparent and vetted method that provides the confidence to remain compliant with local law, make infrastructure investments, satisfy stakeholders, and protect sensitive biomes.  We will continue to work toward transparency and traceability in our supply chain according to our No-Deforestation Policy as outlined in our Soy Action Plan.

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Article
28 March 2017

Bolivia & Brazil: Mighty Earth report claims that Bunge, Burger King, Cargill and ADM are involved in increasing deforestation & impacts on climate change; companies comment

Author: Marisa Bellantonio, Glenn Hurowitz, Anne Leifsdatter Grønlund and Anahita Yousefi, RFN and Mighty Earth

“The ultimate mystery meat-Exposing the secrets behind burger king and global meat production”, February 2017

...Burger King has a lot to hide:...[it]...has failed to adopt any serious policies to protect native ecosystems in the production of its food...[It]...has...turned down requests from civil society organizations to commit to only buying from suppliers who don't engage in destruction of forests, or to provide information about where its commodities originate...[It]...scored a zero on the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2016 scorecard of major beef sellers’ deforestation profiles...[I]n Brazil and Bolivia...soy production on an industrial scale is fueling massive deforestation...To overcome Burger King’s lack of transparency, we used satellite mapping, supply chain analysis tools, interviews with soy growers and an extensive field investigation to uncover deforestation linked to agribusiness giants in the company’s supply chain...[W]e found the footprint of the major trading companies that sit astride global agriculture and supply Burger King and other food companies...Cargill, Bunge, and ADM buy grain, build silos and roads, provide farmers with fertilizer, and even finance land-clearing operations...Cargill and Bunge are the two soy traders most closely linked to deforestation...[: they]...purchase soy from farmers...[And]...finance roads and other infrastructure, and provide fertilizers and other resources to farmers, giving them a direct role in driving deforestation across the agricultural frontier. Bunge is the leading company linked to deforestation risk in the Cerrado over the last five years, with Cargill second...[A]gribusiness has had a long history of land grabbing, destruction and violence...[M]ore indigenous forest defenders had been killed in Brazil than in any other country. Most of the murders took place in the regions with the most land-grabbing for cattle ranches and soy plantations...[I]ndigenous defenders have been murdered by hit men hired by unscrupulous agricultural interests...Cargill and other traders are also connected to the clearing of this global biodiversity hot spot...in Bolivia...More than 80% of...[greenhouse gas emissions]...come from deforestation...Local and indigenous populations often suffer the consequences of deforestation...Soy producers, ranchers, and illegal logging interests have often used violence to displace lowland groups like the Guaraní people from their ancestral land...

[It refers to McDonald’s, Wal-Mart and Wendy’s]

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Article
28 March 2017

Bolivia & Brazil: Mighty Earth’s report alleges food companies are not doing enough to prevent deforestation in areas they operate in & offer financial incentives that spur the process

Author: Arthur Neslen, The Guardian (UK)

The hamburger chain Burger King has been buying animal feed produced in soy plantations carved out by the burning of tropical forests in Brazil and Bolivia, according to a new report...[by]...Mighty Earth...Glenn Hurowitz, Mighty Earth’s CEO, said: “...Bunge and Cargill supply Burger King and other big meat sellers with grain. McDonald’s, Subway and KFC are not perfect but they’re doing a hell of a lot more to protect the forests. If Burger King does not respond immediately to people who want to know where their food comes from, then people should shop elsewhere.”...Mighty Earth says food companies are not doing enough to prevent deforestation in areas they operate in, and offer financial incentives that spur the process in the first place. Burger King...declined to respond to requests for comment...Investors representing $617bn of assets...sent a letter to Cargill, Bunge and several burger chains, in which they “demand that companies reaffirm and extend zero deforestation commitments specific to Latin America”...

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Article
27 February 2017

Bolivia & Brazil: Mighty Earth report claims companies are involved in increasing Amazon deforestation & impacts on climate change; companies comment

Author: Hiroko Tabuchi, Claire Rigby and Jeremy Whitefeb, The New York Times (US)

“Amazon Deforestation, Once Tamed, Comes Roaring Back” – 24 February, 2017

…Cargill traveled to…Bolivia’s eastern lowlands in the southernmost reaches of the vast Amazon River basin with an enticing offer…The American agricultural giant wanted to buy soybeans from the Mennonite residents…Cargill confirmed the accounts of colony residents, and said the company was still assessing whether it would source from the community. That decision would depend on a study of the area’s productivity and land titles, said Hugo Krajnc, Cargill’s corporate affairs leader for the Southern Cone, based in Argentina. “But if a farmer has burned down its forest we’ll not source from that grower,” he said…A decade after the “Save the Rainforest” movement forced changes that dramatically slowed deforestation across the Amazon basin, activity is roaring back in some of the biggest expanses of forests in the world. That resurgence, driven by the world’s growing appetite for soy and other agricultural crops, is raising the specter of a backward slide in efforts to preserve biodiversity and fight climate change…According to Mighty Earth’s analysis, the Brazilian savanna areas in which Cargill operates, a region called the Cerrado, saw more than 321,000 acres of deforestation between 2011 and 2015. Mighty Earth also linked Bunge, the other agricultural giant, to more than 1.4 million acres from 2011 to 2015…In Bolivia, where supply-chain mapping is not available, Mighty Earth sent employees to areas where Cargill operates. The organization used drones to record the clearing of forests and savannas in areas where Cargill operates silos…

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