UK retail giants including Tesco, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis have threatened to boycott Brazillian agricultural commodities over the deforestation of the Amazon.
In an open letter published today the retailers said they will take action if Brazil’s government passes a law expanding property rights for squatters on public land.
Campaigners have warned that the bill would encourage deforestation of the Amazon by rewarding land grabbers who occupy properties illegally and clear areas of the rainforest for agricultural use.
However, backers of the proposal say that only by bringing those properties into the legal system can they be forced to comply with Brazil’s strict laws that limit deforestation in the Amazon to 20 per cent of private property.
The letter has also been signed by all major UK supermarkets including Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, M&S, Co-Op, Waitrose and Iceland and high street chains such as Greggs.
It said that, if the bill is passed, “we will have no choice but to reconsider our support and use of the Brazilian agricultural commodity supply chain”.
“We would like to reiterate that we consider the Amazon as a vital part of the earth system that’s essential to the security of our planet as well as being a critical part of a prosperous future for Brazilians and all of society,” the group said.
“The existing protections and land designations enshrined in Brazilian legislation have been instrumental in our organisations having trust that our products, services, investments and business relationships in Brazil are aligned with the commitments we hold as environmentally and socially responsible enterprises, and that our customers and stakeholders expect of us.