In September 2017, over 60 Brazilian NGOs, including WWF-Brazil, TNC, CI-Brazil, Greenpeace Brazil, IPAM (Amazon Environmental Research Institute) and Imaflora (Institute of Agricultural and Forest Management and Certification), released the Cerrado Manifesto, a call for “immediate action in defence of the Cerrado by companies that purchase soy and meat from within the biome, as well as by investors active in these sectors.”
In October 2017, 23 global brands signed the Statement of Support (“SoS”) for the objectives of the Cerrado Manifesto. The Statement recognised the need to prevent further deforestation in the Cerrado to mitigate future risks associated with climate change and agricultural resilience in this important agricultural production region. It is convened by a Steering Committee, chaired by Tesco and including Ahold Delhaize, APG, Avara Foods, CGF, FAIRR, Grieg Seafood, Nestlé, Nutreco, PRI, Robeco, Sustainable Investment Management and Unilever.
We, the undersigned companies, are committed to halting forest loss associated with agricultural commodity production and to working with industry, producers, governments and civil society to protect globally important natural landscapes within a framework of good governance and land planning policy.
We recognise the critical importance of the Cerrado for its role in climate change mitigation, as a repository for biodiversity, as the source of many of Brazil’s freshwater systems, and additionally as a production region for the agricultural commodities used in our products. However, we also recognise the extent and pace of native vegetation loss resulting from cattle and soy expansion in the Cerrado poses a significant threat to these social, environmental and economic values.
The Brazilian Forest Code is designed to ensure agricultural production and environmental protection are balanced. It is an important legislative mechanism requiring, for example, land registration and compensation for historical forest loss. However, it offers little protection in the Cerrado where only 20% of each private property is required by law to be set aside for conservation.
This wide gap between tackling ‘illegal’ deforestation and achieving zero net deforestation goals is a cause for major concern. 85% of the conversion of native vegetation for soy in the Cerrado is legal under the Forest Code. So while compliance with regulation is essential, at the same time, regulation on its own is currently insufficient for the protection of the Cerrado.
Recent research indicates the availability of substantial areas of already-cleared land. Incentivising expansion into these areas rather than the further conversion of native vegetation, alongside the improvement of the cattle sector’s current low productivity (to make room for soy expansion), offers a viable and more sustainable pathway forward for agricultural production in the Cerrado. It is increasingly clear that development need not be incompatible with the protection of globally important landscapes.
The companies support the objectives defined in the Cerrado Manifesto and commit to working with local and international stakeholders to halt deforestation and native vegetation loss in the Cerrado.
Market-facing companies cannot achieve this on our own and we call on other supply chain actors, government, investors and civil society to share our goal. We seek to collaborate to develop the policies needed to steer all actors towards a more sustainable land use pathway, and the monitoring and verification systems to give us confidence that our actions are having the desired outcome of protecting the unique landscape of the Cerrado.
*Signatories decide to what extent they wish to actively participate in supporting SoS implementation activities. Please see the Terms of Reference and other details.
The Statement of Support is currently supported by 57 investor signatories, collectively representing over $7.8 trillion in assets.
To view the full list of business, corporate and investor signatories, please visit the Consumer Goods Forum.
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
Legal & General Investment Management
Allianz Global Investors
BNP Paribas Asset Management
Columbia Threadneedle Investments
Aegon Asset Management
NN Investment Partners
Swedbank Robur Fonder AB
Kempen Capital Management
OFI Asset Management
Strathclyde Pension Fund
EFG Asset Management
Seventh Generation Interfaith Inc
Boston Trust Walden
Triodos Investment Management
Environment Agency Pension Fund
Pax World Funds
Australian Ethical Investment
Boston Common Asset Management
EdenTree Investment Management Ltd
Trillium Asset Management
Miller/Howard Investments, Inc.
Domini Impact Investments LLC
Mercy Investment Services, Inc.
First Affirmative Financial Network
Green Century Capital Management
Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment
Caja Ingenieros Gestion
Zevin Asset Management
The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust
Castlefield Investment Partners
Priests of the Sacred Heart, US Province
Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Capuchin Franciscan Province of Saint Joseph
Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids (MI)
JLens Investor Network
The Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation
Karner Blue Capital, LLC.
Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes
Adrian Dominican Sisters, Portfolio Advisory Board
Congregation of St. Joseph
Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise
Sisters of St. Dominic/Racine Dominicans