Sixty-one meat and soybean purchasing companies in Brazil have committed to combating deforestation in the Cerrado
In just three months, the number of companies that have committed to supporting the Cerrado Manifesto has almost tripled to 61 signatories. On January 25, 2018, another nine companies announced they were signing up to combating deforestation in this biome during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The Cerrado Manifesto launched on Cerrado Day on September 11, 2017, aiming to create a coalition that today includes 60 civil society institutions, including the WWF, TNC, CI, Greenpeace Brazil, IPAM and Imaflora. The document demands immediate measures to defend the Cerrado to be taken by companies that purchase soybean and beef from this biome and investors in these sectors, so that they will adopt effective policies and commitments to eliminate deforestation and disassociate their productive chains from recently converted natural areas. 23 international companies, including Ahold Delhaize, Marks & Spencer, METRO, Tesco, McDonald's, Nando's, Unilever and Walmart answered the call and launched their own declarations of support for the objectives laid out in the Cerrado Manifesto. Three months later, there is already a total of 61 signatories representing multiple product supply chains, from retail to consumer goods and services in the food and personal hygiene sectors.
The new signatories include Aldi NL, Auchan Retail, Bel Group (Fromageries Bel SA), Casino Group, Cooperl, Grupo Bimbo, Grupo Éxito, Mondelēz International and Supermercados Wm Morrison. The announcement took place during a meeting at the World Economic Forum, organized by the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA), where Al Gore and Christiana Figueres united with other climate change leaders to request necessary high impact actions to protect forests and other ecosystems rich in carbon, as it is estimated that these will contribute 37% to the potential reduction in emissions by 2030.
According to today’s declarations in Davos, the private sector’s support of the Cerrado Manifesto will promote more resilient agriculture and sustainable practices for the planning of land use in the region. The signatory companies use Brazilian soybean or cattle in their products or supply chains, and are therefore important clients for these sectors. They will support development and growth in these soybean and cattle producing regions in a way that will eliminate deforestation and the loss of native vegetation, with the use of 25.4 million hectares of already converted land that is suitable for agricultural use.
The signatories recognise that together with individual action by companies, a combination of voices can accelerate discussions on important wider-reaching public policy. The manifesto signatories declare that they are committed to working with local and international stakeholders to eliminate deforestation and the loss of vegetation in the Cerrado. Their immediate priority is to create a working group with the mandate to develop an agenda and an action plan to implement the objectives included in the Declaration of Support.
"The rapid conversion of the precious Brazilian Cerrado for agriculture and pastureland is not just tragic, but also unnecessary," states Kavita Prakash-Mani, leader of Markets for the WWF. "If we recuperate land that has already been cleared, we can meet the future demand for soybean and beef without losing a single extra hectare of native Cerrado. We applaud these corporate commitments to protect the biome, which is home to 5% of the planet’s biodiversity. The movement sends a critical message to producers, processors and retailers that the Cerrado is as vital to our planet as the Amazon."
Mauricio Voivodic, CEO of WWF-Brasil, believes that "the fact that 61 international companies that purchase beef and soybean from the Brazilian Cerrado have adhered to the commitment to end the conversion of the biome’s natural vegetation is a clear message that socio-environmental preservation should be a priority in Brazil’s economy. The country now has the chance to lead the way to conciliate food production and environmental conservation." According to Voivodic, the next steps in the implementation of the commitments announced will be very important: "The Cerrado has a very small quantity of legally protected areas. Allied with public policy promoting more effective conservation of this biome and incentives to improve agricultural practices, these voluntary commitments are crucial for the protection of the Cerrado, its environmental services and the well-being of the communities that depend on it."
“In just a few short months, we’re proud of the growing number of companies stepping up to help conserve the Cerrado’s vital ecosystem," states Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. "As a community, we must now build on this progress and take definitive steps to both conserve critical wildlife habitat and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in this region."
Why are companies supporting the Cerrado Manifesto?
Barry Callebaut CEO, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, said "In its ‘Forever Chocolate’ sustainability vision, Barry Callebaut has committed to become Forest Positive and Carbon Positive, and to source all its ingredients sustainably by 2025. We owe it to all chocolate lovers, and we owe it to the next generations. Joining the Cerrado manifesto was therefore an obvious decision, and one we hope everybody with a stake in agricultural raw materials will make."
Antoine Fiévet, Chairman and CEO of Bel Group (Fromageries Bel SA), said “Since 2014, Bel & its partner WWF France support a Cerrado-protecting field project in Mato Grosso, Brazil to ensure biodiversity conservation through sustainable soy production. Today, 17 producers are RTRS certified and 20,000 hectares of Cerrado forest have already been preserved. Taking part in the Cerrado Manifesto is a new step for Bel and is completely aligned with our 2025 commitment to ensure zero deforestation certified sourcing. We are proud to be one of the 61 leading global companies pledging to halt deforestation and native vegetation loss in Brazil’s Cerrado.”
Daniel Servitje, Chairman and CEO Grupo Bimbo, said “At Grupo Bimbo, we celebrate and join this important initiative. Today, Cerrado needs us to take responsible actions in order to protect its biodiversity. May this be one of many successful stories for our ecosystems preservation. Let’s keep advancing in our environment´s care to deliver a better planet for the next generations.”
Mike Barry, Director Plan A Marks & Spencer, said “Soy is an incredibly important part of the global food system, for producers, manufacturers and retailers alike. M&S has taken many steps to make our own soy supply chains more sustainable including helping soy smallholders in Paraguay and leading the CGF Soy Working Group. However, we recognise that on an issue this big and complex only collaborative action to protect the Cerrado within a framework of good development planning and governance working alongside policy makers, producers, traders & civil society will deliver sustainable development pathways that support resilient soy & cattle production in the region."
Olaf Koch, CEO METRO AG, remarks “Sustainability is part of METRO’s overall business strategy. We always strive to use our global reach to keep creating real impact. METRO was the first German retailer to actively support the Cerrado Manifesto, signing the Statement of Support to help create impact for the important topic of deforestation. We are pleased to see that the number of signatories to the Statement of Support has nearly tripled, to 61 companies, in three months, but we feel that we all can do more. We therefore call upon other retail organisations, as well as suppliers, to take action by also undersigning the Cerrado Manifesto Statement of Support.”
Mike Coupe, Chief Executive, Sainsbury’s Group said “In 2011 Sainsbury’s committed to ensuring that our products do not contribute to global deforestation, and we know that working collaboratively with our suppliers, partners and local and international stakeholders is absolutely key to achieving this goal. We are proud to be one of the first signatories of the Cerrado Manifesto, and are delighted to work alongside the new signatories to the Statement of Support to halt deforestation and vegetation loss in the Cerrado. We will also be working closely with our supply base to support this collective action.”
Signatories by sector
Source: Tropical Forest Alliance
- Agro-industrial: 1
- Consumer goods: 9
- Farming: 1
- Food processing: 2
- Food service: 3
- Personal care: 2
- Retail: 43
All signatories to the Cerrado Manifesto Statement of Support (SoS)
Source: Tropical Forest Alliance
Ahold Delhaize NV
Ajinomoto Co Inc
Aldi NL *
Bel Group (Fromageries Bel SA)
Bidfood NL *
Boni Markten *
Boon Sliedrecht *
Co-operative Group Ltd
Coop Supermarkten NL *
Deen Supermarkten NL *
De Kweker *
EMTE Supermarkten *
Groothandel in Levensmiddelen Van Tol *
Hoogvliet Supermarkten *
ICA Gruppen AB
Inter IKEA Group
J Sainsburys Plc
Jan Linders *
Jumbo Supermarkten *
Lidl UK GmbH
Lidl Nederland *
Makro Nederland *
Marks & Spencer Group Plc
Nando’s Chickenland Ltd
NS Stations Retailbedrijf *
Plus Retail *
Poiesz Supermarkten *
Spar NL *
Tesco Stores Plc
Vomar Voordeelmarkt *
Walmart Stores Inc
Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc.
* CBL member