Position papers
  • 30-Apr
  • 2019

May 1st, 2019 – The intensive discussions about the legislation Brazil should have in place to allow for the conciliation of the agricultural production with native vegetation’s protection took almost five years. The process that resulted in the approval of the new Forest Code, in 2012 (Federal Law 12,651/2012), was one of the most vivid debates that ever took place in the Brazilian Congress, with large mobilization and participation of the different interest groups.


After seven years since its publication, the Forest Code has already reached important results, such as the more than four million records in the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) – equivalent to almost 100% of the area required to be registered – creating one of the most relevant geographic information systems on land use and occupation.


However, a constant scenario of legal insecurity prevents greater advances. Until last year, the deadline to register with CAR had been postponed four times consecutively, causing a delay of approximately four years in the conclusion of the registration phase. One of the consequences of this is the low adherence to Environmental Regulation Programs (PRAs); stage in which producers present their plans to solve the environmental liability they identified.


In December 2018, with the end of successive extensions of the deadline to register with CAR, it was expected that the legal security necessary to move to the regularization stage would have been installed. However, a series of Bills and Provisional Measures aiming to change mechanisms that are essential to implementing the Forest Code are being presented at Congress. These initiatives keep the legal insecurity environment and harm the efforts to implement the law.


Among the more than 190 members of the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, gathering representatives of agribusiness, the forest sector, environmental defense entities, and academia, there is a clear consensus: the implementation of the Forest Code, in its current configuration, is the first step to strengthen the agricultural production and, at the same time, the environmental conservation of the country. This moment has arrived and it can no longer be postponed.


The implementation of the Forest Code is also part of a set of measures against illegal deforestation and represents a way to value the efforts of rural producers that obey the law and are harmed by the unfair competition with violators. Great part of the deforestation of the Amazon is illegal. Fighting illegality should be any government’s priority. Strengthening legal agriculture contributes to the image of the sector abroad, guaranteeing access to the most demanding international markets.


Crosschecking land ownership data with land cover and use data shows us that the country has the second largest forested area in the world. One third of the native vegetation area of the country is found in private properties. This happens due to the legal requirement to keep areas of Legal Reserve and Permanent Preservation on their properties along with the excess kept by some rural producers that are above the percentage required by law.


At the same time, Brazil has the third largest agricultural production area in the world. Both experts on the subject and the Ministry of Agriculture itself agree that there is no longer the need to convert native vegetation into agricultural or livestock production areas.


The agricultural sector is the main beneficiary of conservation since its productivity is highly dependent on climatic conditions. Forests act as Brazilian agriculture’s “sprinkler”. Besides water, there are countless ecosystem services, such as pollination of the crops, that directly benefit agriculture.


Lastly, the implementation of the Forest Code is crucial to meet goals established by Brazil in the Paris Agreement. The Brazilian Coalition has already highlighted the gains the country has in remaining in the Paris Agreement, in view of its historic leading role on the topic.


It is imperative to uphold the law; we cannot waste time with new modifications on its mechanisms. For this reason, the Brazilian Coalition recommends to the National Congress and the Brazilian government that they concentrate their efforts on the next stages necessary to the effective implementation of the Forest Code. Some of the actions that urgently need to be implemented are: to direct resources to speed up CAR’s validation, to advance in PRAs regulation, to implement the instruments necessary to create a real demand for Environmental Reserve Quotas (CRA), and to regulate the article of the law regarding financial incentives to protect native vegetation – including payment for environmental services and the creation of the Brazilian Market on Emissions Reduction.


The Forest Code is the instrument essential for the sustainability of the agribusiness, for the development of the country, and for the welfare of all Brazilians. Its effective implementation can wait no more.


About the Brazilian Coalition


The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was born with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 190 companies, businesses associations, research centers and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalitioncoalizaobr.com.br/en

  • 14-Dec
  • 2018

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture and its more than 180 members that represent agribusiness, environmental protection entities and academia believe that the country has a lot to gain from staying in the Paris Agreement: the main international commitment on climate change.


The Paris Agreement represents an agenda of extensive opportunities. For rural producers, the commitment is seen as an important incentive to create mechanisms that are able to compensate producers that have a surplus of preserved areas in their properties, as a way to pay for the environmental service provided by these areas.


For forests and agriculture, the Agreement represents a clear sign towards a low carbon economy. A relevant part of the Brazilian economy is based on agribusiness, responsible for 23.5% of the National GDP and 19% of the formal jobs in the country. The sector is highly dependent upon climatic conditions to guarantee its productivity. Forests act as “sprinklers” of the Brazilian agriculture and to protect them is the best path to guarantee the sector’s continuity.


In global trade, Brazil, which today is responsible for 7% of the agricultural products in the planet, can attract more distinguishing features and competitiveness to its products. This would value its image and reputation and open new doors in international markets, which have been increasingly demanding producers to meet sustainability criteria.


All of these gains are possible results of Brazil’s support for the Paris Agreement combined with a national policy for the low carbon economy and coherent with the country’s trajectory as one of the leaders in international climate negotiations. The country has the obligation of keeping its leading role, out of respect for its history and responsibility to the planet.


Therefore, the Brazilian Coalition requests that the government considers the gains that the Paris Agreement can represent to many sectors of society. Thinking about the importance of this agenda, the Brazilian Coalition recently launched a vision for the future for forests and agriculture, in which the group members indicate goals for 2030 and 2050. For this reason, we believe that, in addition to continuing to support the global effort in reducing emissions, the country has to advance in this agenda as a long-term State policy for Brazil and the world.

 

About the Brazilian Coalition


The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was born with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 180 companies, businesses associations, research centers, and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalitioncoalizaobr.com.br/en

  • 08-Nov
  • 2018

November 8, 2018 – The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture received with concern the news that the president elect, Jair Bolsonaro, and his team are considering merging the Environment and Agriculture Ministries.


According to the letter published on October 24, addressed to the candidates of the Brazilian presidential elections’ second round, the Brazilian Coalition highlights that the merger of these ministries can threaten the necessary power equilibrium that has to be respected in the context of public policies. A regulatory agency cannot be submitted to a regulated sector, as a matter of coherence and governance.


In the past few years, the Brazilian Coalition has been working with these ministries with the goal of contributing to public policies synergy and complementarity of these areas. Both agendas (environment and agriculture) are essential to guarantee the balance between environmental conservation and sustainable production and need to be equally weighted in government’s decision making.


Moreover, the Ministry of Environment’s actions go beyond agricultural and forest issues, because they also involve licensing, pollution control, the use of chemical products, water safety, among others. The strengthening of federal institutions, such as IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) and ICMBio (Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation), is an essential condition to assure the government’s role in these agendas. Therefore, the environmental agenda is much broader than only agriculture’s issues.


The members of the Brazilian Coalition – representatives of agribusiness, environmental defense entities, academia, and the financial sector – are at the elected government’s disposal to present more details of the risks associated with this fusion, as well as to present the countless opportunities the country has in taking advantage of a low carbon economy. The Brazilian Coalition is a nonpartisan movement that presented 28 proposals to the main candidates of this year’s election and that continues open to contribute to the sustainable development of the country.


About the Brazilian Coalition


The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was born with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 180 companies, businesses associations, research centers, and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalition coalizaobr.com.br/en

  • 24-Oct
  • 2018

Open letter to the candidates of the Brazilian presidential elections’ second round, Mr. Fernando Haddad and Mr. Jair Bolsonaro

October 24, 2018 - In this decisive moment for the future of the country, the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture reaffirms the important commitment the country has with the world to assure humanity’s food, water and climate security.

Agribusiness is essential to our economy’s prosperity, since it corresponds to more than 20% of the Brazilian GDP. Moreover, Brazil is the third largest agricultural producer of the world, responsible for 7% of the world production, as well as one of the largest biofuels and forest products producer. At the same time, the country owns the largest tropical forest of the planet and stands in the global rank as the seventh largest carbon emitter, having more than 65% of its emissions attributed to deforestation and farming.

Brazilian agriculture depends on climatic conditions, such as rain, humidity and temperature. These conditions can only be assured by forest conservation. Protected areas, for example, whether conservation units, indigenous lands or quilombola territories, help to preserve ecosystem services that are provided by forests and fundamental to agribusinesses, such as: water, erosion reduction, mitigation of climatic extremes, and the pollinators and habitat necessary to plague and disease controllers. For this reason, the Brazilian Coalition has been stating that agricultural production and environmental conservation have to walk alongside. Our development, prosperity and well-being depend on this balance!

In this context, the Brazilian permanence in the Paris Agreement, and the legislation and environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture agendas are important to the sector: they guarantee the correct pricing of the current and future production and the Brazilian insertion in the most demanding international markets, such as Europe and Japan, in addition to maintaining the country’s historical protagonism in climate change negotiations and mitigation. Moreover, they contribute to global efforts in avoiding the temperature rise above 1.5°C, according to the most recent IPCC report developed by more than six thousand scientists.

Proposals, such as merging the Agriculture and Environment Ministries, can threaten a necessary power equilibrium that has to be respected in the context of public policies. In the past few years, the Brazilian Coalition has been working with these ministries with the goal of contributing to these areas public policies so they are in synergy and complementarity. Both agendas (environment and agriculture) are essential to guarantee the balance between environmental conservation and sustainable production, and need to be equally weighted in government’s decision making. Moreover, the Ministry of Environment’s actions go beyond agricultural and forest issues, but they also involve licensing, pollution control, the use of chemical products, water safety, among others. The strengthening of federal institutions, such as IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) and ICMBio (Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation), is an essential condition to assure the government’s role in this agenda.

In this context, it is crucial to emphasize that the greatest part of deforestation in Brazil comes from illegal activity. Fighting this illegality should be any government’s priority. Therefore, strengthening control authorities – including the Public Prosecution –, remote sensing technologies and data transparency should be guarded as not only means for environmental protection, but also for protecting the great majority of rural producers, who follow the law and suffer from transgressor’s unfair competition. Command and control actions are necessary and desirable to fight illegal deforestation and repress the illegal trade of timber, livestock, grains and other products.

Besides inspecting, the government also needs to implement the Forest Code’s mechanisms, which aim at solving the country’s environmental liabilities and at valuing landowners that follow the legislation and contribute to forest conservation. The Brazilian Coalition was created in a turbulent political moment of the country, in which the actors of the climate, forests and agriculture agendas were disarticulated due to the many divergences over debates that resulted in the approval of the current Forest Code. It was the desire to gather efforts in searching for common goals that mobilized these actors again. Without democracy, dialogue and transparency, this alliance would never have been possible.

Our movement is proof of the value that the democratic exercise of dialogue among the different sectors of society can represent. The more than 180 members, among agribusiness representatives, environmental defense entities, academia and financial sector, don’t share the same point of view, but they believe in the plural dialogue to build bridges, come up with solutions, and search for consensus. For this reason, the Brazilian Coalition cherishes the democratic environment to manifest its members’ point of view, the trust and respect among parties, on behalf of a new economy: based on low carbon emissions, and biodiversity and ecosystems protection.

This diversity is the centerpiece to deal with 21st century and climate change’s challenges. Therefore, the respect to public institutions needs to be assured as a guarantee of a free environment for civil society’s activism and, at the same time, favorable to businesses. It is this dynamic that allows the country to listen and answer society’s interests.

Thus, the Brazilian Coalition reaffirms some of its principles, such as the importance of the Paris Agreement, of strengthening the fight against illegalities in the forest sector, of implementing the Forest Code and of democracy. We ask the second round presidential election candidates, Mr. Fernando Haddad and Mr. Jair Bolsonaro, to comply with this letter’s principles and make sure that they will be respected as an agenda of the government; an agenda earned by the Brazilian society. The Brazilian Coalition is a nonpartisan movement that presented 28 proposals to the main candidates of this year’s election. The Coalition will be available to dialogue with the new elected government, willing to contribute to the advance of our agenda and to the country’s sustainable development.

 

About the Brazilian Coalition

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was born with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 180 companies, businesses associations, research centers and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalitioncoalizaobr.com.br/en

  • 23-Apr
  • 2018

April 23, 2018 - The National System for the Control of the Origin of Forest Products (Sinaflor), announced by the Government in March 2017, was created with the aim of concentrating information on the control and monitoring of the origin of different forest products, such as coal and exploited timber in forest management regime. Thus, all forest activities that are subject to control by official organizations of the National Environmental System (Sisnama) must be linked to Sinaflor to issue authorizations to exploit and commercialize its products.

The Federal Government stipulated the goal of May 2, 2018, to start Sinaflor on a national scale. Moving forward to the operational stage is fundamental for improving the control and governance, safety and legality environment of Brazilian forestry activities.

Therefore, the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture reinforces once again its support for Sinaflor, as it had done last year in a communiqué issued on March 8, 2017. The movement also reaffirms the importance of this system as a tool for transparency and control of the origin of the country's forest products.

In addition, the Brazilian Coalition requests the official Sisnama organizations that have not yet formally joined Sinaflor to do so before May 2, 2018, in order to allow the immediate functioning of the system.

Check below the statement of the Brazilian Coalition released on March 8, 2017:

 

Sinaflor is an important step in fostering the legal timber market in the country

São Paulo, March 8, 2017 - The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture participated in the launch of the National System for the Control of the Origin of Forest Products - Sinaflor, held yesterday in Brasília, with the presence of the Minister of the Environment, Sarney Filho, and the president of Ibama, Suely Araújo.

Sinaflor is a system that integrates other platforms from Ibama, such as the Forest Origin Document (DOF) and the Annual Operational Plan (POA), as well as the Rural Environmental Registry National System (Sicar). One of its objectives is to improve the control of the origin of products, such as wood and coal, tracking all the process, from authorizations of exploration to their transport, storage, industrialization and export. Therefore, it aims to increase the degree of security and reliability of the systems as a whole.

All states in the country are expected to use Sinaflor as of 2018 to issue operating and marketing authorizations for these products.

For the Brazilian Coalition, the first version of Sinaflor, presented yesterday, represents an important step for the timber sector. “The system brings progress for the productive chain of native wood, which suffers from irregularities in its production processes. The minister and the president of Ibama also pledged to launch a new version of Sinaflor by the end of the year, responding to traceability and transparency challenges. The Brazilian Coalition is ready to contribute to this process”, said Marcelo Furtado, facilitator at the Brazilian Coalition, who participated in the event's opening table.

“Sinaflor still needs some improvements, but it can already reduce significantly the possibility of fraud by bringing more operational security to the issuing of permits for timber extraction”, says Jeanicolau de Lacerda, an assessor at Precious Woods company and one of the leaders of the Coalition's Tropical Forest Economy Working Group. He and other members of the Working Group were also present at the launch.

For the Working Group, it is still necessary to find concrete ways to promote the broad traceability and transparency of information on the origin and final destination of timber products. These are key elements for achieving two objectives of the Brazilian Coalition, which are to curb illegality in the sector and increase the area of sustainable managed forest in the country by 10-fold, reaching 25 million hectares by 2030. This will promote the fight against illegal deforestation and lead to a more sustainable forest economy based on the correct management of forests and the generation of income and quality jobs throughout the production chain. “Transparency puts the spotlight on enterprises that operate in the right way. It encourages the maintenance of forests, the respect for local communities and the preservation of natural resources. It also contributes to the development of adequate public policies that bring the whole sector to legality”, says Leonardo Sobral, forest manager at Imaflora, who also leads the Tropical Forest Economy Working Group.

The tropical timber market is responsible for more than 200,000 direct jobs and produces 13 million m³ of log/year, generating a gross annual income of R$ 4.3 billion. However, according to data from the Institute BVRio, about 80% of timber sold in the country seems to be illegal and is not certified.

 

About the Brazilian Coalition

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multi-sector movement established to propose initiatives and influence public policies that lead to the development of a low-carbon economy by creating decent jobs, encouraging innovation, Brazil’s global competitiveness and generating and distributing wealth across society. Over 160 companies, business associations, research centers and civil society organizations have already joined The Brazilian Coalition – coalizaobr.com.br/en

  • 16-Apr
  • 2018

The Senate Bill (PLS) 626/2011 has returned to the agenda and should be voted on in the Senate floor in next weeks.

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture reaffirms its position paper against this Bill, according to the position already published on September 11, 2017 (available below).

Faced with the risks mentioned in this position paper, the Brazilian Coalition asks the Senators to vote for the rejection of PLS 626/2011.

Read the position paper:

 

Senate bill ignores agroecological zoning of sugarcane

Note of the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture on Senate Bill 626/2011:

São Paulo, September 11, 2017 – Senate Bill 626/2011, sponsored by Senator Flexa Ribeiro (PSDB-PA), which is being processed by the Federal Senate, aims to authorize sugarcane cultivation in the Legal Amazon, in already degraded forest areas and in stretches of savannas and general fields of the states that make up the region.

This bill contradicts the efforts made by the federal government, the productive sector and society towards the sustainable production of sugarcane in the country. In 2009, the Brazilian government approved Decree 6961, which provides for Agroecological Zoning and determines areas and rules for the licensing of new plants, excluding expansions on sensitive biomes such as the Amazon and Pantanal, as well as areas of native vegetation. Bill 626/2011, proposing a change in the zoning guidelines, could cause a strong pressure for deforestation in the Amazon biome.

Brazilian biofuels and sugar are not associated with this deforestation. Senate Bill 626/2011 can tarnish this reputation and jeopardize the markets already conquered and the value of Brazilian products. Brazil needs to focus on promoting increased production of bioenergy and biofuels in the current unused areas, along with environmental preservation.

The demand for economic development in the Amazon regions is legitimate. However, the Coalition believes that the creation of quality jobs can only be achieved through the low-carbon economy. Currently, sugarcane cultivation occupies about 10 million hectares. Zoning, by excluding 92.5% of the Brazilian territory as unfit for sugarcane cultivation, still allows its expansion in 64.7 million hectares, of which 19.3 million hectares are areas of high productive potential.

Therefore, we understand that, in protecting sensitive biomes, zoning signals areas big enough to enable agribusiness to expand and intensify its production while ensuring the preservation of protected areas. These areas are critical to provide ecosystem services, such as maintaining temperature and rainfall regimes.

Therefore, the Brazil Coalition defends the maintenance of the sugarcane Agroecological Zoning terms and demands that Senators members of the next Commissions read Senate Bill 626/2011 (Commissions for Agriculture and Agrarian Reform and Environment, Consumer Protection and Inspection and Control, with a final decision) to consider the risks mentioned above and vote for their rejection. The sugarcane industry plays an important role in meeting the Brazilian climate target and is able to increase its participation in the national energy matrix by 18% without plowing under the Amazon.

 

About the Brazilian Coalition

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multi-sector movement established to propose initiatives and influence public policies that lead to the development of a low-carbon economy by creating decent jobs, encouraging innovation, Brazil’s global competitiveness and generating and distributing wealth across society. Over 160 companies, business associations, research centers and civil society organizations have already joined The Brazilian Coalition – coalizaobr.com.br