Monday, March 01, 2010

The more soy and cattle meat, the less rainforest

Press Release 2010-03-01 (translated)

Swedish soy and meat imports from Brazil with large risks. In a new report Swedwatch examines Swedish meat and soya imports corporate responsibilities in an industry that contributes to the deforestation of rainforest in the Amazon, a form of slavery and displaced indigenous people.

The report, which is made in collaboration with Latinamerikagrupperna and Friends of the Earth, shows that Swedish companies have been linked to meat and soya suppliers who contributed to the deforestation of rainforests. Svenska Foder, which provides the Swedish farms with soybean-based animal feed, has no environmental or ethical policy and set likewise no requirement for suppliers. Beef importer Annerstedt Flodin AB performs no checks for suppliers and believe that they are too small to interfere in that one of their suppliers dealing with farms that harvest rain forest illegally.

- In Brazil's rainforest is the soybean crop and livestock the main causes of deforestation. It is therefore necessary to set high ethical standards in the Swedish importers, "says Ellie Cijvat, Chairman of Friends of the Earth.

Brazil is today the world's largest meat exporter and second largest soybean producer. Global demand has created a high pressure on the previously undisturbed natural areas. Every year Sweden imported 385 000 tonnes of soya products and 10 000 tonnes of beef from Brazil.

The audit revealed major differences between the companies regarding their ethics and sustainability work. Soybean Importers Denofa and Lantmännen, and meat importers North Trade and Annerstedt Flodin have some form of environmental and social demands on their suppliers. Svenska Foder places no demands at all and Annerstedt Flodins demands are not public.

- Meat and soybean production in the Amazon has implications both for local people, animals and nature, but also for the Global climate. It is imperative that companies have sound ethical policies, that they carry out independent checks on their suppliers and the results then published. None of them live up to these standards today, said Francisco Contreras, Chairman of the Latinamerikagrupperna.

The last years, with increased focus on soy and beef production in Brazil, has led to a series of initiatives to make production more sustainable. The report shows that the Swedish companies made progress, but much work remains to minimize the social and environmental risks.

The report is available for download on http://www.swedwatch.org/
See full english summary here

Contact:
Francisco Contreras, Chairman of Latinamerikagrupperna.
Ellie Cijvat, Chairman of Friends of the Earth.
Viveka Risberg, Office Manager Swedwatch.

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