Investors warn Brazil ambassadors about Amazon deforestation

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A group of mostly European investment firms has sent a joint letter to Brazilian ambassadors in their countries to express concern over rising Amazon deforestation.

Storebrand Asset Management, based in Norway, collected the signatures of a total of 29 companies, which include Legal & General Investment Management Ltd, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management, and NN Investment Partners. Together, the companies have USD3.75 trillion in assets under management, according to a statement from Storebrand.

The letter said the “dismantling of environmental and human rights policies, are creating widespread uncertainty about the conditions for investing in or providing financial services to Brazil”. It was sent on Monday to Brazilian embassies in Norway, Sweden, France, Denmark, Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom and requested the start of dialogue to address the matter.

The letter from investors highlighted Brazilian bills to legalise the occupation of public lands and to allow mining in Indigenous territories, as well as comments by Brazil’s Environment Minister, Ricardo Salles, that the press being distracted by the coronavirus pandemic provided an opportunity to slash red tape. Salles spoke during a Cabinet meeting in April, a tape of which the Supreme Court released last month.