// UK grocers have issued a warning to Brazil if it passes a law which threatens the Amazon rainforest
// They have raised concerns over a new effort by Brazil to legalise the private occupation of public land
// The move was first attempted a year ago but was withdrawn after over 40 organisations threatened to stop sourcing products from Brazil
Major supermarkets in the UK have issued a warning to Brazil that they could stop sourcing products from the country if it passes a law which threatens the Amazon rainforest.
Tesco, Aldi, Marks & Spencer, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Waitrose and Iceland are among grocers which have raised concerns over a new effort by Brazil to legalise the private occupation of public land, mostly in the Amazon.
Asda, Morrisons and Greggs are also among the companies signing an open letter warning against the proposed law, along with other retailers, producers, investors and industry bodies.
The move, which was first attempted a year ago but was withdrawn after more than 40 major organisations made the same threat over supply chain sourcing, will likely drive deforestation.
Conservationists have previously warned it will legitimise previous illegal land grabs and pave the way for more forests to be burned and cleared for agriculture such as beef and soy, which is used as an animal feed for livestock.
It will make it harder to meet international targets to tackle climate change, as forests are huge carbon stores, and undermine the rights of indigenous communities in the region.
In the open letter to Brazilian politicians, the retailers said the new law being put forward for a vote posed “potentially even greater threats to the Amazon than before”.
The companies also warned that they had seen circumstances “result in extremely high levels of forest fires and deforestation in Brazil” in the past year.
The companies say they want to help develop sustainable land management and agriculture in Brazil, and support economic development while upholding indigenous community rights, without putting at risk progress in protecting vital natural systems that are essential for the world.
“The Amazon faces a new threat with legislation that undermines the credibility of environmental protections,” Co-op head of food policy Cathryn Higgs said.
“Its rainforest is essential to planetary health and it’s imperative the proposed legislation isn’t given any airtime by the Brazilian government.
“We are joining forces with environmentally and socially responsible organisations to oppose the measures being put forward.
If these new laws are brought in we will have no choice but to reconsider our support and use of the Brazilian agricultural commodity supply chain.”
WWF-UK science and conservation executive director Mike Barrett said: “We cannot fight the climate crisis without the Amazon, yet its future hangs in the balance as deforestation pushes it closer to the point of collapse.
“If passed, this vote in the Brazilian Congress will fuel further destruction and place greater risk on the lives of the people and wildlife who call it home.
“As global efforts to protect the Amazon threaten to be undermined, it’s encouraging to see major businesses sounding the alarm.”