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Commentary: Bolsonaro wants to plunder the Amazon. Don’t let him.

Author: Leila Salazar-López, The New York Times, Published on: 26 February 2019

The rise of President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has put the environment and human rights in peril. His promises to open the Amazon for business could result in huge deforestation... His threats to slash fundamental environmental and indigenous rights standards that help keep the Amazon standing are a threat to climate stability... Companies that accept his invitation to reap profit from Amazon destruction, and the financial institutions that provide the capital, will also bear great responsibility... Agribusiness... is a leading driver of forest loss and human-rights abuses in the Brazilian Amazon, and A.D.M. and Bunge are two of the largest soy traders in Brazil. 

Where would these powerful agribusiness companies get the capital they need to bulldoze deeper into the Amazon, if they should take Mr. Bolsonaro up on his offer to eliminate environmental protections? In no small part from American-based asset managers BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard, which are shareholders in all five of the largest publicly traded agribusiness companies operating in the Brazilian Amazon... This means they have the potential to exert pressure on the very companies that could either moderate or enable Mr. Bolsonaro’s threats to the future of the Amazon — and the climate... If these influential companies don’t take a clear and principled stand against Mr. Bolsonaro’s promises to open the Amazon for business, they will also bear responsibility for abetting his plunder of the world’s largest tropical rain forest.

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