- Foreign investors, including asset management companies and pension funds, now own large stakes, which means that ordinary citizens in the United States and elsewhere are helping fund Amazon deforestation through their investments.
- The three Brazilian families behind the Big Three have remarkable rags-to-riches histories, though with the speed of their expansion and dominance greatly assisted by the Brazilian government, keen to produce “National Champions.”
- The companies expanded rapidly abroad, but their presence in the U.S. means they are now subject to greater scrutiny from authorities and NGOs. However, most small-scale investors, including working people, have no awareness they’re investing in the destruction of the Amazon, one of the world’s most crucial carbon sinks.
It’s largely accepted that clearing land for cattle accounts for 70% of Amazon deforestation, with the rate of rainforest cutting accelerating drastically since President Jair Bolsonaro took office at the start of 2019. Between August 2020 and July 2021, 13,235 square kilometers (5,110 square miles) were lost, the highest level since 2006. That devastation is likely to increase in 2022, undermining the Amazon’s vital carbon storage capacity.
Far less recognized outside financial circles is the key role international capital, particularly from the United States, plays in driving Amazonian destruction through its investments in Brazil’s beef sector.