Cattle ranching is the main driver of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, despite commitments by major producers and retailers to cut ties with harmful ranching practices, according to a report by Chain Reaction Research published in September.
Brazil today is home to over 200 million cattle – the world’s second largest herd after India – and its ranches contribute around R $500 billion (US $123 billion) to the country’s economy each year, representing 7 percent of Brazil’s GDP in 2016
As a result, conversion to pastureland remains the main driver of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, and even transnational retailers that have made commitments to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains are exposed to deforestation risk, according to a report co-authored by researchers from the sustainability consultancy Aidenvironment, the non-profit organization Profundo, and the environmental policy consultancy Climate Advisers.
The joint research project looked in detail at the “link between the beef sector in Brazil and its role in deforestation on the one hand, and the top retailers as key sales channels for beef in Brazil on the other hand,” says co-author Barbara Kuepper, Senior Researcher in Sustainable Supply Chains at Profundo.
The team used data from a report published in 2017 by Brazilian NGO Imazon, the Institute of Man and the Environment of Amazonia, linking Amazonian deforestation to specific meatpackers, as well as publicly available monitoring data collected by Pará state, and other published data on cattle-driven deforestation in Brazil.
In order to meet the high international demand for beef, Brazilians will need massive amount of land to cultivate cow. And to make it possible to meet the high amount of demand for land, people will have to cut down trees in order for farmers to be able to cultivate cows. According to recent researches, ‘80 percent of new deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is caused by the conversion of forest to cattle pasture.‘Deforestation is a form of overconsumption where the social cost is greater than private cost