Wed. Oct 20th, 2021

Retail chains Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Norwegian pension giant KLP have called on Brazil to scrap bills to encourage more land use.

A group of European companies, including Tesco and Marks & Spencer, have threatened to stop using Brazilian agricultural products if the country’s Congress passes legislation extending the property rights of segregated people on public land.

Environmental advocates have warned that the proposal would encourage foresters in the Amazon rainforest who illegally occupy the property by awarding rewards by often owning clean-cut areas for agricultural use in the process.

Proponents of the bill say simply bringing the property into the legal system could force them to comply with Brazil’s strict laws that limit Amazon’s forests to 20 percent of private property.

Retailers, including Metro and John Lewis, as well as investors such as Norway’s largest pension company KLP, said Brazil’s environmental protection was increasingly inadequate, while the land bill posed a greater threat to Amazon.

In an open letter to Brazilian legislators released on Wednesday, European organizations wrote, “We will have no choice but to reconsider our support and use of the Brazilian agricultural supply chain if this or other measures become law.”

During the test

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of soy and beef.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of soy and beef [File: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters]

The bill was scheduled to be voted on in the Brazilian Senate last week, but it was met with criticism from environmentalists. Congressional leaders said the issue needed further discussion and indicated that it could be put to a vote again this week.

The proposal was the second push by the government and congressional allies to approve the national plan. A similar law was withdrawn in May 2020 after threats of boycott by many of the same organization.

The current Senate bill would allow for the adoption of even larger and more recent fixed assets activities.

The move comes as a test for President Joyce Bolsonaro’s government in 2020, after Brazil’s Amazon forest fell to a 12-year high.

Under international pressure, led by the United States, Bolsonaro pledged to strengthen environmental enforcement at the Leaders’ Conference in April and reaffirmed his commitment to clear illegal forests by 2030.

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