Greenwashing for beef land
A Brazilian cattle-ranching company has been publicly exposed for illegally bulldozing land belonging to a native tribe in Paraguay. After claiming the destruction was to create a nature reserve, the company's intentions to turn two-thirds of the deforested land over to beef production were exposed.
The company, Yaguarete Pora S.A, has been awarded the “Greenwashing Award 2010” by Survival International, an organization that advocates on behalf of indigenous peoples. The organization bestowed the title to Yaguarete for suggesting the deforestation of land was 'a noble gesture for conservation'.
“This is textbook greenwashing,” said Survival director Stephen Corry. “Bulldoze the forest and then ‘preserve’ a bit of it for PR purposes. The public won't fall for it. Yaguarete should stop playing games and pull out of the Totobiegosode's territory once and for all.”
The Ayoreo-Totobiegosode tribe in Paraguay's remote Chaco region is one of the last 'uncontacted' tribes in the world, groups of people who have lived without contact with the connected civilizations of the world. “If you deforest an area where there are uncontacted people, it is basically killing them,” said Simone Lovera of the Global Forest Coalition, urging that deforestation of the tribe's land was putting their survival in jeopardy.
“We are already seeing protein deficiency in many contacted Ayoreo people because they no longer have access to animals that need larger areas of land to roam in.”
The Chaco region has seen a massive increase in deforestation over the past year, a result of the clamping down on deforestation in Brazil that has meant an increase in logging equipment being smuggled across the border to Paraguay. “Some ill-intentioned companies are making the most of the weakness of the state in dealing with this issue,” said a government spokesman, adding that Yaguarete's deforestation was “uncategorically illegal.”
“This is just a devious attempt to detract attention from the fact Yaguarete has destroyed so much of the Totobiegosode's land and intends to keep on doing so,” said Corry. “It also means the company continues to be the owner of the land, rather than transferring ownership to the Totobiegosode themselves. It's a public relations gimmick of the grossest kind.”