A forested savanna region called the Cerrado, in Brazil, is home to a rich array of animal and plant life, including many threatened species such as the magnificent jaguar, the giant anteater, and the maned wolf. This area is also prized as the source of half of Brazil’s watersheds, and it is a vital fountain of life for the Pentanal, the world’s largest wetland, as well as the millions of people who reside in this region. But recently, vast stretches of this tropical paradise have been burned to the ground and replanted as unsustainable soybean plantations.
Not only do these two companies directly influence soy-related deforestation, Might Earth also found that they are “frequently involved in directly financing land clearance and associated infrastructure development.” Cargill and Bunge then sell the soy to meat and dairy companies, who then, in turn, sell to companies like Burger King. These suppliers purchase this soy to feed the cows that ultimately become burgers, while also financing new road construction in the region and funding the widespread use of fertilizers that wreak havoc on these ecosystems.
Even prior to the investigation being released, Mighty Earth was in touch with Cargill and Bunge, as well as other soy producers, urging them to stick to their environmental commitments in addressing deforestation and to stop purchasing from any supplier engaged in deforestation. Despite resisting the phone calls, Cargill and Bunge made commitments to clean up their supply chain.
Did they follow through? A new report by Mighty Earth shows that in fact, no, they did not.
Mighty Earth used satellite monitoring on the same sites they originally investigated and in several instances, soy deforestation has continued.
According to the report, “We found a total of 60 square kilometers of new clearance on the farms we visited initially, as well as 120 square kilometers of planned clearance—land that has been prepared for imminent clearance.”
“…Cargill and Bunge have continued to drive rapid deforestation. In the case of Cargill especially, its actions stand in stark contrast to the tens of millions of dollars it is spending on advertising campaigns to tell the world how much it cares about the environment,” notes Mighty Earth.
To read the full report and see how soy traders responded, as well as all of the consumer based companies, click here.
One of the consumer based companies, Burger King, which is the world’s second-largest burger chain, has scored below McDonald’s on the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2016 scorecard of major beef sellers’ deforestation profiles. On the scorecard, Burger King received a big, fat zero for their efforts to prevent deforestation in their supply chain. The company not only doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that it has a major hand in destroying these environments, it has outright turned down requests from civil society organizations to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain. Even McDonald’s has supported actions to better preserve these forests, and it’s time for Burger King to do the same, at the very least. Considering Cargill supplies about 22 percent of the U.S. domestic meat market and American livestock alone consume over 30 million tons of soybean meal every year, you can see how deep the ties to deforestation run.
The good news is we can help put a stop to this senseless destruction. Sign this petition and tell Burger King to clean up its act and demand that all of its suppliers, including Cargill and Bunge, immediately stop destroying our world’s precious forests. Companies must be held accountable for their actions.
You can also help personally bring an end to deforestation caused by meat production by lowering or eliminating your personal consumption of beef. Did you know by simply leaving meat off your plate for a year, you can halve your carbon footprint? To learn more about how you can use your food choices to bring about positive environmental change, check out One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign.
Lead image source: Mighty Earth