McDonald's will investigate charges of deforestation in the Amazon

10/04/2006 - 18h44

Ivan Richard
Reporter - Agência Brasil

Brasília - In an official note, the MacDonald's global fast-food chain informs that it will "immediately" begin an investigation into charges that it contributes indirectly to deforestation in the Amazon.

According to the report, "Eating the Amazon," released this week by the non-governmental organization (NGO), Greenpeace International, McDonald's, together with European supermarkets and restaurants, abet the destruction of the Amazon when they buy chickens fed with soy meal produced from soybeans grown in the region.

In the note the director of quality and security of McDonald's European division, Keith Kenny, states that the chain is "highly concerned" when it comes to issues related to the environment, whether it involves the activities of its franchises or the responsibiliites of its suppliers.

"To reach a rapid conclusion, we shall continue to converse with Greenpeace to attain a perfect understanding of its concerns, as well as contacting other organizations, such as Conservation International (an NGO with specialized knowledge of forest policies). We believe in open dialogue, as we have maintained over the years with Greenpeace on many other issues," the text affirms.

The coordinator of Greenpeace's Amazon Campaign, Paulo Adário, explained that the relationship between McDonald's and the destruction of the Amazon is indirect. "What the Greenpeace report seeks to show is how large corporations play a role in the destruction of the Amazon."

According to Adário, the document is important, because it tries to expose the relationship between world soybean demand and the destruction of the forest. He says that soybeans are used in over 1.2 thousand food products and are the world's most heavily consumed grain.

The study is the result of an undercover investigation conducted over the course of two years in the regions where soybeans are produced and consumed. Satellite images were analyzed, field research was done, airplane observation flights were used, interviews were held with the affected communities, industry representatives, and politicians, and ships bound for the international market were monitored.

Translation: David Silberstein