A group of European companies, including Tesco and Marks & Spencer, threatened to stop using Brazilian agricultural commodities if Congress passed a bill that mandated nationalization on Union lands and land regulation regulations on National Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra). Replaces
Environmental advocates warned that the proposal would encourage deforestation to land grabbers who illegally occupy property in the Amazon rainforest, often cutting off areas for agricultural use.
Proponents of the project say that simply bringing properties into the legal system may force them to follow laws limiting deforestation in the Amazon to 20% of private property.
Retailers such as Metro and John Lewis, as well as investors such as Norway’s largest pension company, KLP, said Brazil’s environmental protection is inadequate, while land tenure legislation could pose an even greater risk to Amazon.
“If this or other measures that weaken these existing protections become law, we will have no choice but to rethink the support and use of the supply chain of Brazilian agricultural commodities,” European companies said. Written in an open letter to MPs, released this Tuesday.
Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of soybeans and beef.
The bill was scheduled to vote in the Senate last week, but has been postponed amid criticism from environmentalists. Congress leaders said the measure needed further discussion and indicated that it could be voted on again this week.
This was the second attempt by the government and allies to approve such a scheme. A similar proposal was abandoned in May 2020, after threatening similar boycott of several companies.
The current bill in the Senate would allow for much larger and recently established properties to be obtained. The measure comes at the time of testing for President Jair Bolsonaro’s government, reaching a 12-year high in 2020 after deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.
Under international pressure led by the United States, Bolsonaro promised at a leadership summit in April to strengthen environmental enforcement and reaffirmed his commitment to ending illegal deforestation by 2030.