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With information from G1 / Reuters
PARIS – France’s biggest bank, BNP Paribas promised on Monday, 15, to stop financing companies that buy cattle or soy produced on deforested or converted Amazon lands after 2008.
The bank also said it will encourage customers not to buy or produce beef or soy from the Cerrado, which occupies 20% of Brazil, only financing those who adopt a zero deforestation strategy by 2025.
Environmental groups said the BNP Paribas decision sent a blunt message to companies that trade commodities in the region but pushed for faster action.
“Financial institutions exposed to the agricultural sector in Brazil need to contribute to this fight against deforestation. This is the case with BNP Paribas, “the bank said in a statement.
Beef and soy are products seen as catalysts for deforestation.
Population growth and rapidly expanding middle classes in countries like China stimulate an explosion in demand for soy and increase consumption of meat and dairy products.
Some scientists warn that the Amazon rainforest, which spans nine countries, is headed for a deadly spiral, as deforestation is accelerating.
An area of the Amazon rainforest the size of Israel was cleared last year, according to the entity Amazon Conservation.
Half of the Cerrado has already been cleared and is one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet, four environmental NGOs said in a joint statement.
“BNP Paribas is giving traders another five years to cut down forests with impunity,” said Klervi Le Guenic of Canopée –Forêts Vivantes.
Last month, BNP and other European lending banks, such as Credit Suisse and Dutch bank ING, pledged to stop financing Ecuador’s crude oil trade thanks to pressure from activists who aim to protect the Amazon.