APG backs halt of deforestation in Brazil’s Cerrado region

Dutch pension provider APG has backed a campaign to halt the deforestation in Brazil’s Cerrado region launched by the Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return Initiative (FAIRR Initiative).

The provider has joined a number of other investors, with over US$2.8trn in assets, that want to stop the forest loss driven by agricultural commodity production in Brazil’s Cerrado region. Cerrado is an area of tropical forests alongside the Amazon described as one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet, the FAIRR Initiative said.

Approximately 50 per cent of the Cerrado’s forests and native vegetation has already been cleared for agricultural expansion and last year the ‘Cerrado Manifesto' called for immediate action by soy and meat companies to prevent further loss. Since then over 70 large corporate buyers including McDonalds, Tesco, Walmart and Unilever have signed a Statement of Support.

The FAIRR Initiative is coordinating institutional investor support for the Cerrado Manifesto to send a clear market signal that investors want to halt deforestation in the Cerrado. The new statement is timed to coincide with the drafting of an agreement between producers, industry, consumer organizations and civil society on an action plan for eradicating deforestation in Brazil’s Cerrado biome.

The drafting process will commence in August. As well as APG, current investor signatories including gi and Robeco, Legal and General Investment Management (UK) and Green Century Capital Management (US).

FAIRR Initiative founder Jeremy Coller said: “Investors are adding their weight to a coalition of support that includes retailers, manufacturers, livestock producers and feed companies; as-well as civil society. The investment community is sending a clear market signal to cattle and soy firms to demand a zero-deforestation policy in Cerrado. Globally, deforestation puts almost a trillion dollars of listed equity turnover at risk and that makes the rapid pace of native vegetation loss in Cerrado a material concern for investors.”

“Institutional investors are realising the importance of protecting ecosystems like Cerrado, as beneficiaries face a world too hot to retire into. Already, over 38 million hectares of alternative available land have been identified in the region where soy production can sustainably expand without causing any further loss of forest assets.”

The investor statement of support is available here.

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