Cargill Converts from The Dark Side?
Here’s the deal. You, a small farmer in Brazil, convert a patch of rainforest to soy production. Once the land is converted, a giant corporation like Cargill offers to buy the land for above-market value to turn it back into forest. As the smart farmer, you realize the real money is in re-converting land and not in farming. The company that buys the land is then seen as altruistic, while supporting your switch to a new profession.
Suddenly multinational argibusinesses like Cargill have become enlightened and say "no more" to deforestation. But why?
Biodiesel can be produced from corn or soy. Cargill is heavily invested in both, so now that corn is emerging as the major market for biodiesel in the U.S., soy production isn’t as profitable. Cargill's land holdings have increased 140% since 2002 but since they are a private company, it's hard to know where all that land is actually located. When the price of soybeans fell in the early part of the decade, soy farmers suffered and American companies swallowed up many of Brazil's soy fields. (They also built a large port in Santerem for exporting products).
Is Cargill's new mission to stop deforestation due to altruism, or has it amassed enough soy production to meet its needs, and now it only wants to hold onto market share? No matter what the impetus, its new approach will help preserve the rainforest. The question of motive will come up more and more often as businesses receive positive press from green actions—but either way, at least the end result points in the right direction: reforestation.Tweet