Brazilian Indigenous leaders interrupt global summit to tell brands “our survival is at stake”

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Berlin, Germany, 24 October 2019 – Today, Indigenous leaders targeted CEOs and senior management of some of the world’s biggest brands, including Nestle, Unilever and Mondelēz, at a summit in Berlin, to demand they end their role in forest destruction in the Amazon and across Brazil. 

Eight leaders from Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples Articulation (APIB) travelled to the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Sustainability Summit and delivered a speech outside exposing the companies’ failure to end deforestation for commodities. A key concern is the serious increase in violence against Brazilian Indigenous Peoples and the destruction of their lands, since President Bolsonaro took office in January.

“The companies you represent bear part of the responsibility for the threat we Indigenous People are facing in Brazil. Be conscious about your responsibility. Everything is at stake, the rainforest, the climate and our survival,” said Sonia Guajajara, one of the ten Indigenous leaders from APIB visiting Europe

Since January, land invasions in Brazil have doubled and attacks against indigenous territories have increased by 44%, according to the Indigenous Missionary Council.[2] Intruders, often heavily armed, enter Indigenous lands to illegally mine, log, or otherwise extract resources. 

Greenpeace Germany activists delivered a burning tree stump bearing the words ‘stop killing forests’ to the venue’s front doors and supported the Indigenous leaders, who had earlier tried to gain access to the summit but were turned away, by displaying banners that read ‘Stop Talking, Start Acting’ and ‘Your Products Destroy Lives’.

In 2010, the CGF and its members promised to end deforestation by 2020 through “responsible sourcing” of commodities including cattle and soya, the key drivers of forest destruction in Brazil.[3] In June, Greenpeace International report Countdown to Extinction, revealed, from 2010-2020, at least 50 million hectares of rainforest is set to be destroyed globally for commodities. Now, even CGF members admit they will fail.[4] 

The Indigenous leaders are in Germany as part of a month-long European tour called ‘Advocacy Tour Indigenous Blood: Not a Single Drop More’.[5] They will meet political and business leaders, and media, and present at international courts, to raise awareness and demand action. 

“Companies must take responsibility for their impact, and stop buying from forest destroyers. But there can be no room for excuses. Governments across Europe must force companies by law to prove that the products they sell do not breach human rights and environmental regulations, or contribute to deforestation,” said Gesche Jürgens, forests campaigner at Greenpeace Germany. 

“France passed a law in 2017 that obliges companies to act responsibly, so there’s no excuse for other governments not to do the same.”

ENDS

 

Photos and videos: https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJ8FRG7C (updated as soon as new images available)

 

Notes: 

[1] More information about the Consumer Goods Forum Summit can be found here 

[2] The Indigenous Missionary Council report can be found here and a recent report by Human Rights Watch can be found here. In August, Climate Change and Land, a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recognised the role of Indigenous Peoples as forest guardians, their contributions to climate solutions, and the importance of their knowledge and practices for climate resilience. Their report is here

[3] The CGF’s statement on ending deforestation can be found here

[4] A statement from Dave MacLennan, chief executive of Cargill, can be found here 

[5] More information about The APIB delegation, formed by Sonia Guajajara, Nara Baré, Alberto Terena, Angela Kaxuyana, Celia Xakriabá, Dinaman Tuxá, Elizeu Guarani Kaiowá, and Kretã Kaingang is here 

 

Contacts:

Alison Kirkman: alison.kirkman@greenpeace.org, + 44 (0) 7896 893154

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