Will private firms come to the rescue of the Amazon?
While the Amazon rainforest is still being ravaged by flames, political and diplomatic attempts to find a solution are drawing a blank. This article takes a different perspective as it thinks outside the (diplomatic) box: could private enterprise be the last resort for tackling a seemingly hopeless situation?
This article supplies a broad overview of the current ecological, political, and economic situation in the Amazon. The Brazilian president, from the beginning of his term in office, has been determined to see his operations through by pushing aside anyone who is at odds with him — including NGOs and the scientific community — for the benefit of agro-industrial lobbies or mining companies. But it seems that the international community still has one card left to play: private companies.
On the one hand, there is the possibility of sanctioning firms that have unethical logistical chains by boycotting products, divesting, etc. And, on the other, collaboration. The author explains that one of the best ways of protecting the region lies in working together with businesses, since ethical and environmental issues are becoming increasingly central to their corporate strategies. And Brazilian producers have understood that the distribution channels upon which they are reliant (Carrefour, Casino, and Walmart) are committed to respecting these principles. Added to this are coalitions of Brazilian firms that are beginning to express their disagreement with the methods of their president.
Why wait for the international community to wake up and take strong action to deal with the situation? It is obvious that institutions are struggling to find solutions. But now more than ever, a number of major companies are developing strategies so they can become genuine actors in our society. So yes, business does have a role to play, although that doesn’t mean the meaningless CSR and greenwashing that has become prevalent in recent years. Now is the time to take action.
To go further:
“It Isn’t Too Late to Save the Brazilian Rainforest” by Robert Muggah (Foreignpolicy.com, 19 August 2019).
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