Foreign capital empowers Brazilian meatpackers and helps deforest the Amazon

Mongabay Brasil, Moyra Ashford e Sue Branford in 25/07/2022

The advance of livestock represents 70% of deforestation in the Amazon. In the first half of 2022, according to data from Deter/Inpe, 3,987 km² of forest were lost – the highest number for the period since 2016. It is no coincidence that since the beginning of the 2000s, the largest growth of meat packing plants and cattle herds in Brazil took place in the Amazon.

However, outside financial circles, little is said about the role that international capital, particularly from the United States, plays in the destruction of the Amazon through its investments in Brazil’s beef sector.

Currently, foreign capital – in the form of participations, loans and purchases of securities – today exceeds Brazilian capital in JBS, Marfrig and Minerva, the largest meatpackers in the country. With the help of these foreign investors, Brazil became the world’s second largest producer of beef and its main exporter.

This means that many workers outside Brazil are helping to fuel Amazon deforestation through their indirect investments in these companies. Minerva, for example, lists firefighters from Los Angeles, civil servants from the states of California and Ohio, railroad workers from the US and teachers from Illinois among its shareholders. It is quite likely that these workers have no idea that their respective pension funds are invested in a company complicit in deforestation.

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