Norway Tells Companies Based There To Stop Funding Amazon Deforestation

The Amazon rainforest is on fire in a bald-faced effort to clear land for corporate use by the agriculture and fossil fuel industries in Brazil, which is why Norway is strongly urging its own companies to stop funding the deforestation.

For years, Norway has contributed the lion’s share of funding to the Amazon Fund in an effort to preserve as much of the rainforest as possible in an effort to curb deforestation and protect one of the Earth’s greatest ecosystems that also happens to be key in the fight against climate change.

But ever since Jair Bolsonaro became president in Brazil, those efforts have been sabotaged as he dismantles environmental protections and gives people free rein to clear rainforest to make way for unbridled development that threatens to destroy us all.

The Amazon rainforest is responsible for producing 20 percent of the oxygen we breathe and absorbs the most carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, preventing climate change from being worse than it would have been already without it.

The world has responded with outrage over Amazon deforestation, and that’s why many corporations are making moves to limit their investments in Brazil, especially in the industries associated with deforestation.

This week, Norway’s Climate and Environment Minister Ola Elvestuen approached representatives of the oil firm Equinor, fertilizer-producer Yara, and aluminum producer Norsk Hydro to urge them to stop funding deforestation, suggesting that all three companies could face consequences since the Norwegian government is the top shareholder in all of them.

“They must be conscious about their supply chains and ensure that they do not help contribute to deforestation,” Elvestuen told Reuters.

All three companies have since issued statements announcing compliance with the request.

“This has high priority in Yara and we do our utmost to ensure compliance across the supply chain to prevent the illegal clearing of land,” a company spokesperson said.

And that’s a big deal that follows California’s example when the state recently passed a law requiring companies that do business in the state demonstrate that their own supply chains do not contribute to deforestation.

Throwing even more weight against Brazil is Norwegian investment firm KLP, which is also pressuring companies to stop funding deforestation, regardless of whether it is directly or indirectly.

“We have engaged companies which undertake significant trade in agricultural products from Brazil because we want rapid dialogues and concrete actions given this extremely serious situation,” said Jeanett Bergan, KLP’s head of responsible investments. “If there is evidence that we are invested in companies that contribute to develop newly deforested land or deforest areas, we will withdraw from investments. It’s always very hard. Responsible corporate behavior, or responsible behavior from anybody, is always a challenge when there is a conflict between economic development and responsible business practice or ethics.”

Needless to say, the pressure is certainly going to have a major impact on businesses in Brazil, so much so, that the country may be forced to insist that the government protect the Amazon rainforest before more corporations and nations boycott them as well. Because while the world is demanding certain agricultural products such as beef right now, it doesn’t mean they have to purchase them from Brazil. There’s always a choice, and Norway is making the right one.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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