We know that biodiversity is a vital factor in safeguarding against diseases like coronavirus that pass from animals to humans – that’s why it’s so important that companies have taken a stand against Jair Bolsonaro’s destruction of the Amazon.
Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro was already facing growing criticism of how he has managed the Covid-19 crisis before he woke up on Tuesday to new alarm bells on the Amazon.
British supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer, joined over 40 companies signing an open letter, urging Brazil’s national legislature to reject a proposed bill – backed by Mr Bolsonaro himself – that could speed up destruction of the world’s most vital forest.
This group of powerful corporates is clear in its warning: pass the bill, and we might boycott any products coming from Brazil linked to damage of this climate-critical region.
The Amazon is already close to breaking point – with deforestation soaring to an 11-year high in 2019, up 29.5 per cent from the year before. It’s not the first time Mr Bolsonaro has been criticised for dismantling forest protections; effective protection that helped achieve a record reduction in deforestation between 2004 and 2012.
Last September, a group of investors with $17 trillion (£14 trillion) under management called on firms to protect the Amazon in the wake of vast forest fires, calling on the Brazilian government to regain control of the blaze and eliminate illegal deforestation (though whether they’ve followed up on this remains to be publicly seen).