A Brazilian Federal Court ruled in June 2008 that Veracel must uproot 96,000 hectares of eucalyptus plantations and replant the land with native trees. Veracel was also fined US$12.5 million for deforesting areas of the Atlantic Forest with bulldozers and tractors during its first years of operation.
Veracel removed forest by fastening chains between tractors and driving them through the Atlantic Forest. In February 1993, the Brazilian authorities temporarily suspended Veracel’s operations after local NGOs and the Union of Forestry Workers documented how the company was clearing the Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlântica) to make way for its tree plantations. Greenpeace also demonstrated against Veracel’s forest destruction.
(The photographs were taken from prints, courtesy of CEPEDES.)
This ruling is significant on several different levels. First, it upholds the arguments that local groups such as Socio-Environmental Forum of the Extreme South of Bahia and the Alert Against the Green Desert Network have made against Veracel for the past 15 years. Second, it shows that the FSC-certification of Veracel was a sham. The certificate should never have been awarded – particularly as it took place while FSC is carrying out a review of its certification of plantations. And third, it shows that banks that lent to Veracel, including the European Investment Bank, failed to carry out sufficient due diligence.
The Socio-Environmental Forum of The Extreme South of Bahia is asking for signatures to a motion of support to the Federal Public Prosecution Service and the Federal Court in Bahia for its decision against Veracel. Please sign on to the motion by clicking here.