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© WWF / WWF-Brazil/Adriana Lorete

WWF's work in Brazil

A 15m high inflatable bucket with water running from a tab, which WWF-Brazil's Freshwater team managed to place in front of the world famous "Christ the Redeemer" statue high above Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on World Environment Day, 5 June 2005.
Reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture
Brazil is the second largest soy producer in the world, after the United States.This massive industry is happening at the expense of Brazil’s forests and savannas. Hence, social and environmental strategies need to be part of the business plan.

In 2003, WWF’s Forest Conversion Initiative (now WWF Forest Conversion Programme) began addressing the severe environmental impacts of soy plantations in Brazil, with a focus on 3 key ecoregions - the Amazon, the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado (Brazilian savannas). WWF is doing this by documenting these impacts in case studies done in the 3 ecoregions.

As part of this effort, WWF’s Trade and Environment programme has focused on the expansion of soy plantations in the Cerrado region. This involves trying to influence the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and international trade and investment flows more generally.

At the local level...
WWF is also working with small farmers to identify how the negative environmental impacts of soy production can be reduced. Simultaneously, market links with European buyers are being established for soy produced in a way that does not harm the environment.
At the global level, WWF, companies, NGOs, and banks have initiated the international Round Table on Responsible Soy,  to jointly develop solutions for responsible soy production. The objective is to promote economically viable, socially equitable and environmentally responsible production and use of soy.
What are the problems? 
What are the problems?
Cattle ranching and forest burning near the Rio Branco River in the Amazon. Brazil
Cattle ranching and forest burning near the Rio Branco River in the Amazon. Brazil

Putting the soy explosion on hold

Soy cultivations in Brazil are tearing through natural habitat such as the Cerrado and the Amazon. Along with partners, we succeeded in opening talks with the soy industry to reduce their impact on the Amazon.

Glycine soja
Paraná, Brazil.
Soya or Soy beans (Glycine soja) plantation, 
Paraná, Brazil
In 2006, following pressure by WWF and other NGOs, several soy companies announced a two-year moratorium on the commercialisation of soy produced on newly deforested land in the Amazon.

Moreover, they committed to work with the soy industry, NGOs and the government to reach the moratorium objectives. The moratorium signals the recognition of the environmental and social impacts that soy expansion causes in the Amazon, and the need for adequate solutions to protect this important biome.