Policy ForumENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT

Brazil's Soy Moratorium

Science  23 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6220, pp. 377-378
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa0181

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Summary

Brazil's Soy Moratorium (SoyM) was the first voluntary zero-deforestation agreement implemented in the tropics and set the stage for supply-chain governance of other commodities, such as beef and palm oil [supplementary material (SM)]. In response to pressure from retailers and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), major soybean traders signed the SoyM, agreeing not to purchase soy grown on lands deforested after July 2006 in the Brazilian Amazon. The soy industry recently extended the SoyM to May 2016, by which time they assert that Brazil's environmental governance, such as the increased enforcement and national implementation of the Rural Environmental Registry of private properties (Portuguese acronym CAR) mandated by the Forest Code (FC) (1), will be robust enough to justify ending the agreement (2). We argue that a longer-term commitment is needed to help maintain deforestation-free soy supply chains, as full compliance and enforcement of these regulations is likely years away. Ending the SoyM prematurely would risk a return to deforestation for soy expansion at a time when companies are committing to zero-deforestation supply chains (3).