Soya moratorium first anniversary brings hope for further forests protection

July 24, 2007

International -

It's been a year since the start of a two-year moratorium on trading soy from freshly deforested areas of the Amazon. It's clear that it is having a positive impact and it looks like the Brazilian government is following suit with a land registration program. After we spent three years investigating then exposing the environmental impacts of the expanding soy trade into the Amazon basin, McDonald's and other leading European food retailers formed a unique alliance with Greenpeace to demand action from soy traders to stop buying soy from deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. After a lot of pressure from this alliance, the US commodities giants Cargill, ADM, Bunge, and Brazilian-owned Maggi Group - along with the rest of the soy trade in Brazil were brought to the negotiating table eventually agreeing to a two-year moratorium on buying soy from newly deforested land in the Amazon.

Eating up the Amazon

Soy is the leading cash crop in Brazil and soy farming - often illegal - is now a key cause, along with cattle ranching and illegal logging, of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Sounds horrible right? Well unfortunately, it gets worse. Violent conflict over land rights is not uncommon in the Amazon and most of this soy is actually being exported to Europe to feed chicken, pigs and cows for meat products. Our team looked beyond the fields and forests of Brazil to trace the entire soy chain from its beginnings in North American boardrooms, through Brazil to its ends in European feedlots, restaurants and supermarkets. Our findings were released in April 2006 in a landmark report: "Eating up the Amazon" that in part lead to the moratorium itself. Read more.

Firm commitments to change

A down turn in the soy industry's economic fortunes have cooled the demand for new plantations, but it remains clear that the moratorium is also reducing deforestation in the rainforest. For example, the reduction in the planted area with soy in Santarém is a clear result of the moratorium and Greenpeace pressure on Cargill's highly controversial soy port. In the Amazon state of Pará, 41% less land has been used to plant soy since the moratorium came into effect.

In line with the moratorium efforts, the Brazilian Government has committed to fast track a land ownership registration system in the Amazon clarifying the legal status of the properties. This is a key program for effective enforcement of environmental protection laws, especially in soy plantation areas.

We are happy to hear a recommitment from our industry partners. McDonald's and Cadbury Schweppes have said: "We recognize that there's no time to lose to protect the Amazon. The first year of this effort has shown good and positive progress, and we're committed to making sure that this continues. Should some of the measures take longer than the stated two years to implement, we expect the moratorium to remain in place until they are fully implemented."

Greenpeace is working to ensure that the moratorium stays until proper procedures for legality and governance are in place and there is an agreement with the Brazilian Government and key stakeholders on long term protection for the Amazon rainforest. In truth, the ultimate success of the whole process and indeed the fate of much of the rainforest itself really depends on a monitoring system, which is not yet in place. Until this is properly implemented, soy consumer companies must remain engaged to make sure soy will not leave further destruction behind. Businesses around the world have to take responsibility and employ solutions that will halt rainforest destruction, protect rainforest inhabitants and tackle climate change.

Originally from News on July 23, 2007, 5:00pm


The following should appear at the end of every post:

According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":

Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.

Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.

Political Campaign Intervention

Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.

Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.

Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:

  • Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
  • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
  • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
  • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
  • Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office

Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:

  • The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
  • Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
  • We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
  • When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
  • It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
  • We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
  • We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
  • When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
  • We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
  • It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)

  • Subscribe

  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
    This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.