April 8, 2008
A two-year moratorium on the purchase of soybeans in newly deforested parts of the Amazon rainforest put in place by Greenpeace, working with the Brazilian Vegetable Oils Industry Association, seems to be working: no new soybean plantations were detected in any of the 193 areas in the region. In the 12-month period ending last August, there was no deforestation totaling 250 acres or more. Greenpeace credits participation by U.S.-based commodities giants Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland and Bunge as key to the success of the moratorium. Demand is rising for soybeans, not only as a food staple but as the base of biodiesel fuel.
"The results show that the soy moratorium is being respected and that is good news," says Paulo Adario, who coordinates Greenpeace's Amazon campaign. "However, the high prices paid for soy on the international market are increasing producers' appetites for more land, which creates an important challenge for the companies...