Mc DONALDS DESTROYING THE AMAZON
Mc DONALDS DESTROYING THE AMAZON
2006-04-28 at 11:16:00 am #15065
— It is a globally known symbol: the golden arches can be seen in many
countries around the world. But whatever the fast food giant wants you
to believe the golden arches stand for, McDonald’s today stands for
rainforest destruction. And that is one very ‘Unhappy Meal’ for the
The Amazon rainforest needs no introduction; the mere
mention of its name conjures up images of a huge untouched wilderness
bursting with amazing life. But to McDonald’s and a handful of huge
soya traders, the Amazon means something completely different. It means
cheap land and cheap labour. Cheap land because it is often stolen,
cheap labour because some of the people who work cutting down the
forest or work on the farms in the Amazon are actually slaves. You
heard it right, slaves.
‘How is this possible,’ you ask? Well it goes something like this.
soya traders encourage farmers to cut down the rainforest and plant
massive soya monocultures. The traders take the soya and ship it to
Europe where it is fed to animals like chickens and pigs. The animals
are then turned into fast food products like McDonald’s McNuggets and
many other products found in fast food outlets and supermarkets.
journey from rainforest to restaurant might sound simple enough but it
has taken a year-long investigation using satellite images, aerial
surveillance, previously unreleased government documents and
on-the-ground monitoring to expose. What we found was a global trade
in soya from rainforest destruction in the Amazon to McDonald’s fast
food outlets and supermarkets across Europe.
“This crime stretches
from the heart of the Amazon across the entire European food industry.
Supermarkets and fast food giants, like McDonald’s, must make sure
their food is free from the links to the Amazon destruction, slavery
and human rights abuses”
Greenpeace forests campaign co-ordinator, Gavin Edwards.
of the global trade in soya is controlled by a small number of massive
traders: Cargill, Bunge and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). In Brazil,
this cartel plays the role of bank to the farmers. Instead of providing
loans they give farmers seed, fertiliser and herbicides in return for
soya at harvest: Bunge alone provided the equivalent of nearly US$1
billion worth of seed, fertiliser and herbicides to Brazilian farmers
This gives the companies indirect control over huge areas
of land that used to be rainforest. Together, these three companies are
responsible for around 60 percent of the total financing of soya
production in Brazil.
The state of Mato Grosso is Brazil’s worst in
terms of deforestation and forest fires, accounting for nearly half of
all the deforestation in the Amazon in 2003-04. In Mato Grosso, the
governor, Blairo Maggi, is known locally as the ‘Soya King’. His own
massive soya company Grupo Andre Maggi controls much of the soya
production in the state and since his election in 2002, forest
destruction in Mato Grosso has increased by 30 percent.
have been caught up in the destruction of the Amazon. The International
Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank,
wrongly assessed a loan to Grupo Andre Maggi as being of ‘low
environmental risk,’ despite evidence to the contrary. Other banks have
also lent huge sums of money to the company without conducting their
own environmental or social impact audits.
So far, Rabobank, the
Netherlands’ biggest agricultural bank has lent over US$330 million to
Grupo Andre Maggi. Rabobank admitted that it didn’t do its own
assessment of the risk of the loans, simply accepting the (flawed)
assessment of the IFC.
So fast food and supermarkets, soya traders and big banks are all trashing the Amazon rainforest.
we can track soya beans more than 7,000km (4,400 miles) from farms in
the Amazon to chicken products in Europe, there is no excuse for the
food industry not to know where their feed comes from, and to demand
the exclusion of Amazon soya from their supply chain.