About the Cerrado
The Cerrado savannah in Brazil is one of the world’s most important ecosystems. It is home to 5% of the planet’s biodiversity, and the birthplace of many of South America’s most important rivers.
Today, this savannah has lost 50% of its original area to agricultural expansion, primarily driven by expanding production of beef and soy, a key animal feed ingredient. If this rate of destruction in the Cerrado continues, 480 plant and animal species are expected to become extinct by 2050. It will drive changes in the region’s rainfall patterns, impacting agricultural productivity. The destruction of even a third of the remaining pristine land would equate to the loss of around 8.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide sequestration. In essence, any further loss of this biome presents a significant threat to the global economy, agricultural productivity and to local communities.
In September 2017, over 60 Brazilian NGOs, including WWF-Brazil, TNC, CI-Brazil, Greenpeace Brazil, IPAM (Amazon Environmental Research Institute) and Imaflora (Institute of Agricultural and Forest Management and Certification), released the Cerrado Manifesto, a call for “immediate action in defense of the Cerrado by companies that purchase soy and meat from within the biome, as well as by investors active in these sectors.”
Statement of Support (SoS) for the Cerrado Manifesto
In October 2017, 23 global brands signed the Statement of Support (“SoS”) for the objectives of the Cerrado Manifesto. The Statement recognised the need to prevent further deforestation in the Cerrado to mitigate future risks associated with climate change and agricultural resilience in this important agricultural production region. It is convened by a Steering Committee, including Ahold Delhaize, APG, FAIRR, Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s, Tesco (chair), Unilever, UNPRI and Walmart. Since the launch of the statement, over 100 companies and investors have signed on in support of the Manifesto’s objectives. SoS signatories are currently developing an SoS Implementation Roadmap to support signatories with turning their SoS commitment into meaningful action aligned with their own policies and ambitions.
Statement of Support (SoS) Steering Committee
The SoS Steering Committee is currently composed of Tesco, Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s, Ahold Delhaize, Unilever, Walmart, the Consumer Goods Forum, Principles in Responsible Investment, APG and FAIRR.
Cerrado Working Group or Grupo de Trabalho do Cerrado (GTC)
The GTC is a stand-alone entity that is responsible for agreeing terms of an agreement between producers, industry, consumer organizations and civil society, as well as an action plan for eradicating deforestation in Brazil’s Cerrado biome. The GTC is composed of industry members, NGOs, producer organisations, government and financial institutions and well as Brazilian consumer goods companies.
How investors can get involved
- Sign the Statement of Support for the Cerrado Manifesto: Signatories support the development of soy and cattle production in a manner that avoids deforestation and native vegetation loss, such as using the 38 million hectares of already converted land in the Cerrado that is suitable for agriculture. SoS signatories are currently developing an SoS Implementation Roadmap to support signatories with turning their SoS commitment into meaningful action aligned with their own policies and ambitions.
- Join the PRI-Ceres Investor Initiative for Sustainable Forests: As part of the Investor Initiative for Sustainable Forests, the PRI and Ceres have launched an Investor Working Group on Sustainable Soy, an effort to tackle widespread, global deforestation driven by beef and soy production largely in South America. Contact [email protected] for more information.