A projection of President Marcon had provoked the ire of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. The tenant of the Elysée exhorted the French to no longer buy Brazilian soybeans but to prefer national soybeans to fight thus, as in the story of the hummingbird fighting against fire, against the Amazon deforestation. (https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/mercado/2021/01/macron-associa-soja-do-brasil-a-desmatamento-da-amazonia-e-defende-plantio-na-europa.shtml)
« On Tuesday, the French president had advocated increasing soybean production in Europe to be « consistent with [our] ecological ambitions. « When we import soybeans that are made by forced marching on destroyed forests in Brazil, we are not consistent with ourselves, » Macron said in a video accompanying a message on Twitter » https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2021/01/15/bresil-jair-bolsonaro-accuse-emmanuel-macron-de-dire-des-idioties-sur-le-soja_6066321_3210.html.
The Brazilian vice-president Mourao and Jaïr Bolsonaro were then going to tantrum the French president, reproaching him for his lack of knowledge of the Brazilian context, soya being according to them, especially cultivated in the cerrados of Goias and Mato Grosso and secondarily in the plains of the South of the country. It is true that the endangerment of the extraordinary biodiversity of the Cerrados, plateaus in the interior of Brazil, is of less concern to Brazilian citizens and the world in general because these biomes are less well known and the « emotional » response to the destruction of « shrubs » is less tinged with emotion.
However, soy is a constituent element of deforestation in the Amazon (among others) that must be decompartmentalized. This soy front is linked to the explosion in demand for urbi and orbi beef in Brazil and around the world. As geographer Antonio Ioris, from Cardiff University explains, « As they are the last to arrive in this cycle, soybean producers claim that they are not contributing to deforestation. This rhetoric is a mistake because it neglects the synergy between the sectors » (from soybean production, cattle breeding and logging, editor’s note).
Beyond these almost Byzantine quarrels, so urgent is the situation in Brazil and elsewhere, the whole chain of imported deforestation must be taken into consideration. Is it demand that creates supply or supply that creates demand? Are consumers responsible? In fact, we cannot take away some responsibility from them, but can we incriminate consumers to whom no product traceability is offered? In the chain of imported deforestation, i.e. the ecocide on which the French parliament has legislated, it will undoubtedly be necessary to criminalize the importation of products resulting from an ecocide, thus obliging multinationals to guarantee the traceability of their products. Some will argue that this is a suicidal idea in the current economic context, but the European Union has anticipated this pious wish of Tiradentes-geography, through the voice of the president of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who will propose a resolution to the European Commission.
« The concrete proposal I made in this resolution is that Brazilian agricultural products will only be able to enter European markets if it is demonstrated that they have not contributed to deforestation and the destruction of ecosystems such as the Pantanal or Cerrado, besides the Amazon. Furthermore, these products from Brazil and other countries cannot have contributed to the violation of human rights, property rights or the rights of indigenous peoples ». (https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/internacional-55168713)
The same requirement would also apply to European companies that invest money in Brazil – such as banks and investment funds. (ibid.). It seems essential to oblige importers and marketers of products to propose a label that would measure the ecological and human footprint, similar to the energy and nutritional classifications in a, b, c, d.
This would make the consumer a consumer’s actor, but it would force all those involved in the production chain to take responsibility.