Tesco’s new pledge to protect Brazil Amazon under scrutiny by Essex University

By Anca Miron 

Tesco is by no means “doing enough to cut off Amazon deforestation,” Human Rights student Molly Rennie said. 

The UK’s biggest supermarket seller threatens to boycott Brazilian produce in response to Brazil’s proposed legislation to open up Amazon to more exploitation. 

It comes as the UK Government is accused of dumping UK’s trash in Turkey amid national pledges to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035. 

But a company such as Tesco, which “puts so much pollution out into our world” tries to “distance himself” from the scandal. 

After thousands of Tesco customers complained about the supermarket giant’s sustainability plan last year, Tesco posted “misleading” claims about hitting their target of zero deforestation, according to Greenpeace. 

Molly spoke out about Tesco’s affiliation with the multinational US corporation Walmart: “There is no way they are producing zero emissions in this much waste. They are just trying to cover it up as a business plan.” 

Greenpeace found that less than 10% of the UK’s everyday plastic actually gets recycled in the UK. 

The environmental organisation said: “UK can’t cope with the amount of plastic waste that companies are producing, so the government is allowing it to be dumped on other countries that can’t cope with it either.” 

But the professor of Environment and Society Jules Pretty doesn’t think there is a direct link between the waste stream and the actions called by the Government around the Brazilian Amazon. 

Instead, Pretty says Tesco is trying to build a “moral” reputation with its customers in the context of the UN Climate Change Conference hosted by the UK in November this year. 

He said: “This is quite a good step forward. I’m quite encouraged by that, because it may then have knock-on effects to other companies and to consumers themselves. I believe they think they can sell more stuff by taking the right action.” 

The UK’s biggest supermarket seller of industrial meat, Tesco is making massive profits from products linked to the forest’s destruction. 

According to the Embassy of Brazil in London, last year the UK was Brazil’s 16th largest trading partner in terms of imports. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Brazil-UK trade was affected in both imports and exports, decreasing by 10.9%, which has the lower level in 14 years. 

However, Amazon lost 2 million hectares of primary forest across the nine countries of the Amazon this year alone, the Amazon Conservation Association and Monitoring the Andean Amazon Project estimates. 

Latest researches found that the latest destructive fires are caused intentionally so that Brazilian companies can make profits out of it, while it meets the increasingly global needs. 

But the ecosystems for hundreds of thousands of indigenous people are now opened to clear space to farm livestock and grow animal feed. 

Molly said: “The Amazon rainforest produces so much of our worldwide oxygen. Every single person will suffer from all of that forest being cut down. If we don’t protect it, everyone suffers.” 

But now all of that oxygen is thrown away and sold on Facebook’s Marketplace, which allows huge swathes of protected and Indigenous land to be out for sale. 

Continuing to cooperate with Brazilian companies, Tesco is contributing to the “worldwide health problems” and to the “deliberate” destruction of one of a few remaining rainforest habitats on the planet. 

Second-year politics student, Alva Hollung said: “As a Tesco customer since it’s the closest shop to the University, I would say that they don’t take the biggest responsibility because they keep on cooperating with companies that use palm oil. I read that there’s a huge debate over whether palm oil is being extracted through the deforestation of the Amazon.” 

The biggest fear, however, is that under Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro the bill to legitimise the everlasting exploitation of the largest rainforest on earth would be passed. 

But Tesco and the UK can make a change with Brazil’s legislative policies by taking “responsible action” to protect important habitats, biodiversity, indigenous people, and fight against the climate crisis. 

Pretty said: “If people choose to eat less meat, become vegetarian or vegan, it makes a change upon their individual carbon footprints. 

But not just customers alone should take that action, he argued. Governments and corporations choosing to boycott Brazilian produce may bring this new law to a standstill. 

On the other hand, Molly said that the UK Government has no interest in UK’s economy is affected, but that Human Rights Boards, who put pressure on governments to achieve certain results will make them “abide”. 

And the increasing level of awareness around environmental issues with British people since 1987 “brilliant” report to boost sustainable development is argued by “how many people come back to me and say ‘what can I do to help?’ ,” Pretty added.