Major corporations urge Brazil to boost climate pledges

Publish: 7:15 PM, September 29, 2021 | Update: 7:15:PM, September 29, 2021

RIO DE JANEIRO, – A group of the 107 biggest companies in Brazil on Monday called for the Bolsonaro government to strengthen its environmental commitments, just one month ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

“Brazil should be a participant in climate negotiations,” the companies said in an open letter published by the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS), which is made up of companies representing 47 percent of the country’s GDP.

“Brazil must stay at the center of the this conversation, or risk enormous damage to the productive sector and Brazilian society,” said the letter, which included signatures from big banks such as Bradesco, JBS — the biggest meat producer in the world — and Brazilian branches of multinational corporations such as Carrefour and Shell.

President Jair Bolsonaro and his government have faced biting criticism on the environmental front, especially in the wake of the huge jump in deforestation seen in Brazil since the beginning of his term in 2019. The open letter calls for the “adoption of funding mechanisms for the promotion of climate transition and the immediate fight against deforestation in the Amazon and other Brazilian habitats.”

“Brazil has extraordinary comparative advantages in the pursuit of carbon neutrality, thanks to our abundant natural resources and the capabilities of our people,” the letter said, asserting that the global movement toward a more environmentally friendly economy represents a “unique opportunity” for the country.

Bolsonaro claimed in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly last week that the “future of green jobs” is in Brazil, “with renewable energies, sustainable agriculture, low-carbon emission industry, ecotourism and waste- water treatment.” He also announced in time for the COP26 that his government would try to “find consensus on the mechanisms of the world carbon credit market.” The signatories of Monday’s open letter recommended as a first step the adoption of “transparent” policies on carbon credits in Brazil, “to assure the environmental quality and integrity of carbon credits to be traded.”