Despite its pledge to help reduce deforestation, the World Bank seems to be aiding and abetting the industry most responsible for clearing the Amazon rainforest: the Brazilian cattle industry. What’s going on here?
In 2007, the World Bank pledged $90 million to a company leading one of the world’s most ecologically destructive industries. Cattle ranching in Brazil has created the single greatest threat to the Amazon rainforest, which is treasured for its biodiversity as well for its role in fighting climate change by acting as a carbon sink. Yet the International Finance Corporation, the Bank’s private lending arm, agreed to loan $90 million to Bertin, a company it recognizes as “the leading integrated beef and hide processor in Brazil, with slaughtering capacity of about 5,400 heads per day.”