BNP will stop financing customers causing deforestation of the Amazon

Three cows eating with smoke behind them
Cows graze on a field that was burnt out in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil, photo: Reuters/Ricardo Moraes

The French international banking group BNP Paribas said on Monday it would not finance customers that produce or buy beef or soybeans from land in the Amazon rainforest that was destroyed for agriculture.

BNP, introducing a policy to fight deforestation in the Amazon and the Cerrado regions in Brazil, said it would only provide financial products to animal meat companies with a strategy to achieve zero deforestation in their production and supply chains by 2025 at the latest.

“Financial institutions exposed to the agricultural sector in Brazil must contribute to this fight against deforestation,” BNP Paribas said in a statement.

Forests have been cleared in Brazil, mainly to keep cows or produce soy, which is used as food for farm animals. Whole areas of forest continue to be flattened each year.

In January, three Brazilian soy traders committed to zero deforestation in their supply chain, banning the trade in soy grown on deforested land. The three companies mostly supply Norway’s salmon industry, where soy is used as fish food.

Last month, European banking groups like Credit Suisse, ING and BNP Paribas committed to stop financing trade in crude oil from Ecuador after pressure from campaigners aiming to protect the Amazon rainforest.

Indigenous leaders fighting to prevent further oil exploration in their territory said the banks’ role had made them complicit in oil spills, violations of land rights and the destruction of rainforest.

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