MINNEAPOLIS — Cargill has committed $30 million to source ideas to protect forest and native vegetation in Brazil. David W. MacLennan, chairman and chief executive officer of the Minneapolis-based company, urged competitors, customers and other companies to join Cargill in the project.
“Cargill is a large company, and on our own, we can drive change,” he said. “Working with others, we can transform our industry, and in doing so, we can create a socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable supply chain that works for everyone.”
The project will involve the company’s Soy Action Plan and focus on the Cerrado region, located mainly in Brazil. The Cerrado, a savanna, is home to 5% of the world’s animals and plants, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Since the 1950s, agriculture, including the expansion of soybean and beef production, has caused the loss of about half of its native vegetation. By 2030, it is estimated that the Cerrado will lose tens of millions more acres of native vegetation, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
“We must end deforestation in a way that protects forests and native vegetation while simultaneously allowing farmers and communities to prosper,” Mr. MacLennan said. “Perhaps nowhere is this currently more critical than in the Cerrado region of Brazil. The Cerrado is home to millions of people and agriculture is a critical component of the local economy. The region also supports a vast range of plant and animal biodiversity, which must be protected.
“We’ve also learned that solutions are seldom simple or universal. The changes we’ve implemented in our palm supply chain, for example, will not work in the soy supply chain, where the industry is more fragmented and the farming economics are drastically different.”