While this news has gotten quite a bit of coverage, I was glad that Nick at Greenpeace sent me a reminder, as it is a small step forward on the corporate responsibility front. In April, GP released a report detailing how the massive soy production was creating more destruction of Amazonian rain forests as Brazilian farmers raced to meet the demand. On Tuesday, McDonald’s, one of the companies named in the report, “agreed to stop selling chicken fed on soya grown in newly deforested areas of the Amazon rainforest.”
[Greenpeace’s] report, Eating Up the Amazon, detailed how McDonald’s and other companies were implicated in deforestation, land-grabbing, slavery and violence. Since then there has been a sea change in attitude among the food industry towards the problem.
The result is that McDonald’s and other big food retailers have worked with us to develop a zero deforestation plan. The plan will also help bring an end to the land-grabbing and social injustice that is rife in the Amazon.
By committing to the plan, the companies’ massive buying power has created a huge demand for soy that hasn’t been grown in the ashes of the rainforest. This put pressure on the ‘big five’ soy traders – Cargill, ADM, Bunge, Dreyfus and Amaggi to come to the negotiating table with the future of large areas of the Amazon rainforest at stake.
In response to the pressure, the soy traders have only committed to a limited two year moratorium of buying soy from deforested areas. The two-year time frame of the soy traders moratorium risks being no more than a token gesture, unless the traders deliver real change to protect the Amazon.
The challenge still remains, as not only have the traders themselves only agreed to a two-year moratorium, but at least one big player in the fast-food industry, Kentucky Fried Chicken, refuses to even discuss the issue. Greenpeace asks that people concerned about continued destruction of these vital rainforests contact KFC to let them know that we’re watching them… Congrats to the folks at Greenpeace and McDonald’s!