On April 20, the Finnish-Swedish giant of the forestry industry Stora Enso held their annual shareholder meeting in Helsinki where it planned to distribute part of its 2010 EUR 817.4 million profit.
A press release by Friends of the Earth International, Brazilian Cepedes (Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas para o Desenvolvimento do Extremo Sul da Bahia) and MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra), Friends of the Landless Finland, and WRM (World Rainforest Movement) warned that “Stora Enso's profit comes on the back of violations of environmental and labor laws and the criminal code in Latin America.”
In Brazil and Uruguay, alone or in joint ventures, the company is being responsible of environmental crimes. Stora Enso’s large scale tree plantations for pulp mills have led to displacement of local communities, soil erosion and water shortages. Land concentration to grow eucalyptus threatens food security and causes misery to millions of landless people.
In Uruguay, Montes del Plata – jointly owned by Stora Enso and Chilean Arauco - is the country's largest landowner, with 238,000 hectares of land and it has been pressuring national authorities to reclassify farm lands near its new pulp mill in order to find 100,000 hectares more for new forestry plantations.
In Brazil, Veracel joint venture of Stora Enso and Brazilian company Fibria is being accused of environmental crimes (illegal deforestations and inappropriate use of pesticides), workers' rights violations, money laundering, tax evasion and corruption. It has also brutally evicted women and children of the Rural Landless Workers movement (MST) and the peasant movement Via Campesina who have occupied several of Stora Enso's plantations in direct action against hunger and poverty.
“Instead of bringing development, Stora Enso causes land conflicts and threatens food sovereignty. Genuine sustainable development promotes small-scale farming to feed people and not large-scale plantations to make profits for companies. We cannot eat eucalyptus!” said Marcelo Durao Fernandes from MST.
The full press relase can be read at http://maanystavat.fi/index.php?cat=82&aid=9&lang=fi&mstr=2