Veracel is expanding its operations in Brazil, with the consent of the government. The decision of the Institute of the Environment and Water Resources (INEMA) to grant preauthorization for the expansion of Veracel Celulose S.A. – a joint venture between Stora Enso and Aracruz – runs counter to a 2008 Federal Court ruling that revoked the environmental licence granted to the company in 1993.
Under that historic ruling, Veracel was ordered to reforest 96,000 hectares of Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest) destroyed by its eucalyptus plantations, in addition to paying financial compensation for the environmental damages caused and a daily fine until these dispositions were fulfilled (see WRM Bulletin 132).
Veracel appealed the ruling, and this continued legal action, combined with the company’s economic power in the region, have delayed a final resolution to the matter, which has yet to be reached.
An open letter drafted by numerous civil society organizations (http://wrm.org.uy/paises/Brasil/Carta_Veracel_Suzano_Fibria.html) calls on the competent authorities to revoke the preauthorization for the expansion of Veracel’s pulp mill operations and monoculture eucalyptus plantations in the state of Bahia and to redirect the financing provided by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) and other national banks towards family farming and the promotion of food sovereignty. It also calls for the demarcation and titling of the lands of indigenous, Afro-descendant and riverine traditional communities impacted by agribusiness, among other demands.
To sign on to the letter, send an email message to: email@example.com until June 5