BNP limits finance to customers of beef or soybean from converted Amazon land

French lender BNP Paribas has said it will no longer provide financing services to customers who grow or buy Brazilian soybeans or beef on Amazonian rainforest land that has been cleared or converted since 2008.

AgriCensus reports that France’s largest listed bank said that as a financial institution exposed to the Brazilian agricultural sector, it must contribute to stop deforestation in the Amazon.

It added that it will encourage its clients to not produce or buy beef or soybeans from land cleared or converted from January 1 this year in the Cerrado – the vast tropical savannah that is being eyed as potential land for Brazil’s agricultural expansion.

BNP statement

“BNP Paribas will not finance customers producing or buying beef or soybeans from land cleared or converted after 2008 in the Amazon,” the bank said in a statement.

BNP said Brazilian beef and soybean production has accelerated deforestation in the Amazon and the Cerrado which “legal or illegal, jeopardises the ecological integrity and future of these two biomes”.

The bank will require all its clients to commit to full traceability of their beef and soy supply chains, direct and indirect, by 2025.

Financial products or services will only be provided to companies with a strategy to achieve zero deforestation in their production and supply chains by 2025 at the latest.

Amazon deforestation

Large scale forest conversion in the Amazon has only occurred since the 1970s, alongside the growth of Brazil’s economy.

Traditional indigenous people in the Amazon basin cultivated fruit and palm trees in rotating plots, supplementing their farm plots with forest resources such as rubber, nuts or medicines.

From around 1970 onwards, Brazil and other countries of the Amazon basin, initiated land reform and programs to encourage permanent settlement.