Catholic investors call on Brazilian government to better protect the Amazon and the rights of its indigenous population

On 29 March 2021, a group of nearly 100 Catholic institutions, led by the The Special Commission on Integral Ecology and Mining for the Brazilian Bishops' Conference (CNBB), the international Catholic network Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) and the German Catholic Church Bank Bank für Kirche und Caritas (BKC) sent a letter to high-ranking Brazilian government representatives and officials with clear demands to protect the Amazon and the indigenous people living there. We are convinced of the need to make full use of our opportunities as Catholic institutions and to raise our "voice" by entering into an dialogue with the Brazilian government.  We would like to motivate the Brazilian government to finally respect human and environmental rights and take appropriate countermeasures to remedy the current situation.  

Please contact us if you have any questions tommy.piemonte@bkc-paderborn.de

Letter

We are a group of 93 Catholic institutions, led by the Special Commission on Integral Ecology and Mining for the Brazilian Bishops' Conference (CNBB), the international Catholic network Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) and the German Catholic Church Bank Bank für Kirche und Caritas (BKC), which pursue an ethical and sustainable investment strategy. All these ethical-sustainable investment strategies are based on the values of Catholic social teaching and take into account the guiding principles of the protection of human life, peace, justice and creation.

Today we approach you not only as Catholic institutions, but also as investors and potential investors in Brazilian government bonds as well as in shares and bonds of Brazilian companies.

As Catholics and citizen of this world, we are extremely concerned about the continuing destruction of the Amazon rainforest. The Brazilian National Institute for Space Research INPE, in a monthly balance published in October 2020, reported a record number of fires in the Amazon and in the world's largest swamp area, the Pantanal, of more than 17,300 fires. This number of fires was more than twice as high as in the same month the year before.[1]

At the same time, the INPE, after evaluating satellite images, reports a new record level of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon within one year. According to this report, an incredible amount of 11,088 square kilometres of rainforest was cut down in the period of twelve months (August 2019-July 2020) - which is equivalent to an area larger than Jamaica. This is a twelve-year high and represents an increase of 9.5 percent compared to the same period last year, which was also a record.[2]

This devastating environmental damage is in stark contrast to the Catholic guiding theme of preserving creation and the call of his holiness Pope Francis to protect the climate and the environment in the encyclical Laudato Si'. Moreover, the Amazon is not only our "common lung" of humanity, but also, in very concrete terms, home to a large number of indigenous people. The unchecked growth of legal or illegal, but tolerated, deforestation and occupation of indigenous lands by the extractive industries, cattle breeders, soybean and other agricultural producers and loggers leaves behind not only a trail of environmental destruction, but also deprivation of rights, displacement and quite often murder of the indigenous people.[3]

The destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the violation of human rights not only pose a threat to Brazil's reputation in the international community, but also a very real threat to the Brazilian economy. This is because more and more consumers are boycotting Brazilian products. In addition, banks are stopping the financing of Brazilian companies directly or indirectly related to the deforestation of the rainforest, and investors are refraining from further investment in securities of such Brazilian companies and Brazilian government bonds or are even selling them. This is because investors see deforestation and the associated impacts on biodiversity and climate change as systemic risks to their reputation and portfolios, and of course to long-term sustainable financial markets.[4]

If the Brazilian government does not resolutely oppose the deforestation of the rainforest and the deprivation of rights of the indigenous population, we, as Catholic investors, will also increasingly see our basis as current and potential institutional investors in Brazilian companies and government bonds removed.

For these reasons, we call on you to draw up a clear plan of action which, in a first step, should implement the following objectives:

  • Implementation of strict environmental protection legislation
  • Monitoring and compliance with environmental legislation
  • Concrete plan on how to combat deforestation, with a budget and intermediate targets to be measured
  • Massive upgrading of fire fighting and ibama resources in the Amazon
  • Lifting restrictive provisions against non-governmental organisations and launching a stakeholder dialogue on environmental measures
  • Protection of the land and the human rights of the indigenous population with quantifiable, time-bound obligations and measures
  • Expropriation of land that has been unlawfully appropriated and public disclosure of this information
  • Afforestation activities and annual reporting on progress

We are looking forward to your kind feedback and we are happy to discuss with you on these issues.

In the meantime, we will start an exchange of information with investor groups with whom you are already in contact or who have the same concerns as we do.
___________________________________

[1] National Institute for Space Research INPE (2020); http://terrabrasilis.dpi.inpe.br/app/dashboard/fires/legal/amazon/aggregated/# (accessed on 05.01.2020)

[2] National Institute for Space Research INPE (2020); http://terrabrasilis.dpi.inpe.br/app/dashboard/deforestation/biomes/legal_amazon/rates (accessed on 05.01.2020)

[3] APIB and Amazon Watch (2020); Complicity IN Destruction III: How Global Corporations Enable Violations Of Indigenous Peoples‘ Rights In The Brazilian Amazon; https://amazonwatch.org/news/2020/1027-complicity-in-destruction-iii (accessed on 05.01.2020)

[4] Ceres (2019); Investor statement on deforestation and forest fires in the Amazon. This statement is endorsed by 230 investors representing approximately US $16.2 trillion in assets.
https://www.ceres.org/sites/default/files/Investor%20statement%20on%20deforestation%20and%20forest%20fires%20in%20the%20Amazon.pdf (accessed on 05.01.2020)
Storebrand (2020); Open letter from financial institutions to halt deforestation in Brazil; https://www.storebrand.no/en/asset-management/sustainable-investments/active-ownership/_/attachment/download/30ee3878-f76a-4379-bfc3-95da81215da0:0014db6c85fa65d95c3c21537e4bf41afe57355d/Open%20letter%20Brazilian%20embassy%20in%20Final%20070720.pdf (accessed on 05.01.2020)

Signatories

1. Bank für Kirche und Caritas eG (BKC)

2. The Special Commission on Integral Ecology and Mining for the Brazilian Bishops' Conference (CNBB)  

3. Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM)

4. Abtei Koenigsmünster (Meschede)

5. Abtei St. Gertrud (Wickede (Ruhr))

6. Adrian Dominican Sisters, Portfolio Advisory Board (Adrian, USA)

7. ADVENIAT e.V. (Essen)

8. Arnold-Janssen-Stiftung (Sankt Augustin)

9. Augustiner Chorfrauen im Michaelskloster (Paderborn)

10. BANK IM BISTUM ESSEN eG (Essen)

11. Bischöfliches Hilfswerk MISEREOR (Aachen)

12. Bistum Aachen (Aachen)

13. Boston Catholic Climate Movement (Lexington, USA)

14. Caritasverband Dortmund e. V. (Dortmund)

15. Caritasverband im Dekanat Büren e.V. (Büren)

16. Caritasverband Offenburg-Kehl (Offenburg)

17. Catholic Concern for Animals (Chelmsford, United Kingdom)

18. Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa (Nairobia, Kenya)

19. CatholicEcology.net (West Warwick, USA)

20. CatholicNetwork.US and Call to Action CO (Lakewood, USA)

21. Católicos en Red (Madrid, Spain)

22. Christian Life Community (Glen Rock, USA)

23. Claretian Missionaries (Rom, Italy)

24. CREA (Hartford, USA)

25. Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise (Saint Louis, USA)

26. Delegation of social and caritative pastoral of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)

27. Deutsche Provinz der Karmeliten KdöR (Bamberg)

28. Diócesis de Loja (Loja, Ecuador)

29. Eastern German Section of Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre (Magdeburg)

30. Erzbischöfliches Generalvikariat (Paderborn)

31. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada (London, Canada)

32. FIMCAP (Antwerpen, Belgien)

33. Franciscan Voice Canada OFS (Victoria, Canada)

34. Franciscans of Canada (Montréal, Canada)

35. Franziska Schervier Altenhilfe GmbH (Aachen)

36. Fundación Padre Jaime (Bogotá, Colombia)

37. Generalat der Missionsschwestern vom Kostbaren Blut (Mönchengladbach)

38. Iglesias y Minería (Sao. Paulo, Brazil)

39. Ignatian Solidarity Network (University Heights, USA)

40. Jesuitenmission Deutschland & Österreich (Nürnberg)

41. Jugendhaus AK Marienberg (Übach-Palenberg)

42. Kath. Kirchengemeinde Liebfrauen Holzwickede (Holzwickede)

43. kath. Kirchengemeinde St. Antonius u. St. Vinzenz Wickede (Ruhr)

44. Kath. Kirchengemeinde St. Peter und Paul (Lennestadt)

45. KDFB Diözesanverband Passau e.V. (Passau)

46. kfd Merseburg (Merseburg)

47. Kirchengemeinde St. Clemens (Dortmund)

48. KKV Hansa Bielefeld im Bundesverband der Katholiken in Wirtschaft und Verwaltung e.V. (Bielefeld)

49. Kloster Brandenburg (Dietenheim)

50. Kloster St. Koloman (Stockerau, Austria)

51. Kongregation der Franziskanerinnen Salzkotten (Salzkotten)

52. Kongregation der Schwestern der Christlichen Liebe (Paderborn)

53. LISTEN (Manly, Australia)

54. Marien Ambulant gGmbH (Siegen)

55. Medical Mission Sisters (Duisburg)

56. Mercy Investment Services, Inc. (Saint Louis, USA)

57. Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Rom, Italy)

58. Missions-Benediktinerinnen (Tutzing)

59. ND-KMF e.V. Region Paderborn (Paderborn)

60. OFM Capuchins (Rom, Italy)

61. Pax-Bank eG (Köln)

62. Pfarrei St. Liborius (Paderborn)

63. Pfarrei St. Peter und Paul (Bad Driburg)

64. Pope [St.] Paul VI Foundation (Washington, USA)

65. RAAD Red Argentina de Ambiente y Desarrollo (Beccar, Argentina)

66. Regional Secular Franciscan Western Canada (Osoyoos, Canada)

67. School Sisters of Notre Dame (Rom, Italy)

68. Secular Franciscan Order - National Fraternity of Canada (Nine Mile Creek, Canada)

69. Secular Franciscan Order (Victoria, Canada)

70. Sisters of Charity Federation (New York, USA)

71. Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Congregational Leadership (Nazareth, USA)

72. Sisters of Notre Dame (Patna, India)

73. Sisters of Saint Francis (Rochester, USA)

74. Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity (Madera, USA)

75. Sisters of St. John of God (Wexford, Ireland)

76. Sisters of St. Joseph, Office of Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation (Brentwood, USA)

77. St. Elisabeth Stiftung (Detmold)

78. St. Franziskus Castrop-Rauxel (Castrop-Rauxel)

79. St. Pankratius (Iserlohn)

80. St. Rita Catholic Church (Fairfax, USA)

81. St. Ursula Stift zu Werl (Werl)

82. St.Marien gem GmbH (Balve)

83. Steyler Ethik Bank (Sankt Augustin)

84. Steyler Mission gGmbH (Sankt Augustin)

85. Steyler Mission gGmbH (Sankt Augustin)

86. Steyler Missionarinnen (Rom, Italy)

87. Stiftung Bildung ist Zukunft (Paderborn)

88. Tangaza University College (Nairobi, Kenya)

89. Together - Hilfe für Uganda e.V. (Kassel)

90. Universe of Faith - Pastoral Formation Institute (Floriana, Malta)

91. Wheaton Franciscan JPIC Office (Wheaton, USA)

92. Zentralkomitee der deutschen Katholiken (Bonn)

93. Žít Laudato si' Česká republika (Praha, Czech Republic)

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Czech Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Germany
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Kenya
  • Malta
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • USA
Information on the status of engagement

08/2022

For months we have been exploring the possibilities of targeting illegal gold mining in the Amazon, in addition to our direct engagement activities with high-level Brazilian government officials. To this end, we have held a large number of discussions with church organisations, also on the ground, Brazilian and international NGOs as well as industry experts. Furthermore, in an in-person conversation with an indigenous leader of the Munduruku ethnic group, we received a first-hand account of the terrible consequences and side effects of illegal gold mining for the rainforest and the indigenous and traditional people living there. Besides the destruction of livelihoods through deforestation and water pollution by mercury, intimidation, expulsion and even murder are sad realities.
Because of its economic and political importance to the Brazilian government, as well as the devastating consequences of gold mining for people and nature in the Amazon, this economic sector provides an additional pressure point on the government to press our demands for greater protection of the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous and traditional people.
This is why we have started to explicitly include illegal gold mining in our engagement activities. As a first step, we have asked the Brazilian Central Bank to comment on the problem of non-verifiable registration and thus the difficulty or even impossibility of traceability of gold, among other things, and to consider appropriate solutions. In addition, we are trying to get into contact with the presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has announced that if he is re-elected, he will not only strengthen the rights of the indigenous population and the protection of the rainforest, but also fight illegal gold mining. We are planning further engagement steps.

 

07/2022

In a further engagement step, we have just written to the Governor of the Central Bank of Brazil, Roberto Campos Neto. In doing so, we report to him from the perspective of a Catholic institutional investor alliance that as long as there is no change in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the violation of the rights of the indigenous and traditional peoples living there, there is also a very real threat to the Brazilian economy. The reason for this is that more and more consumers and international companies are boycotting Brazilian products and investors are refraining from further investments in securities of such Brazilian companies and Brazilian government bonds. We expect him to take this point into account in central bank deliberations and actions, as well as to have a dialogue with us about it.
We have continued our written exchange with FUNAI, the Brazilian government agency responsible for indigenous affairs. At the end of March, we asked FUNAI to answer our questions and to make a clear statement on the devastating draft law PL 191, which, among other things, would allow the extensive exploitation of raw materials on indigenous territory. So far, we have not received a reply, despite having contacted the higher-level Ministry of Justice.

 

05/2022

We welcome very much that we were able to establish an exchange with the German ambassador in Brasilia in May. Our wish for the German Embassy to draw attention to our engagement and the associated concerns in the exchange with Brazilian and international diplomats and other stakeholders was fulfilled with a commitment.
Furthermore, we have tried to intensify our already existing exchange with members of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, to reach new deputies as well as to establish new contacts on the level of the Senate in order to place our general demands for engagement on the one hand and to sound out possibilities to present our concerns in the National Congress on the other hand. We hope that a hearing in the National Congress will draw the attention of government and opposition politicians from both chambers of parliament to the financial risks of the current Amazon policy and thus introduce a hitherto missing argument into the broad political debate.

 

04/2022

It is pleasing that we were already able to establish a written dialogue with the Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos Alberto Franco França in April. Even if the Foreign Minister's comments do not describe any major new approaches to change, they at least reaffirm the government's goal of eliminating illegal logging by 2028. It also confirms that our demands for measures to protect the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous and traditional people living there are noted and that some of them have been considered by the government. Nevertheless, the unabated high levels of deforestation in the Amazon indicate that too little effective action has been taken by the government. Therefore we have requested a statement from the Minister of Foreign Affairs on how the measures allegedly taken by the government specifically pay into our demands.

 

03/2022

We have continued our written dialogue with FUNAI, the Brazilian government agency responsible for indigenous affairs, and have responded to their letter. It should be noted that FUNAI is not closed to dialogue. However, the points made so far in the response to our questions lack a critical examination by FUNAI of the actual circumstances of the indigenous population and the destruction of the Amazon. Repeatedly, we have presented a detailed rebuttal, concluding that a more ambitious plan to protect the rainforest and the people who live there must be developed and pursued. Unfortunately, in our view, insufficient awareness of the problem on the part of FUNAI is preventing the necessary action from being taken. In our current letter, we specifically address the position and countermeasures taken on the proposed Bill PL191/2020, expected to be voted on next month, which would allow mining and the construction of dams on indigenous lands, including those with isolated indigenous peoples. If passed, this law would give carte blanche to the exploitation of indigenous territory and increase the risks to life, health and the environment, as well as violence against indigenous peoples. Therefore, we strictly reject this legislative initiative. Our response letter to FUNAI with all the details can be found here.

 

03/2022

On 8 March, we discussed our engagement in detail with the Norwegian Ambassador in Brasilia and the Ministerial Counsellor for Economic Affairs of the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, Rodrigo Godinho, during a round of talks conducted via video conference. We were able to explain our concerns and our concrete demands for the protection of the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous and traditional population living there in detail in a direct dialogue. The round of talks took place within the framework of a panel discussion, organised by the "Emerging Markets Investor Alliance", for a closed circle of participants from institutional investors and supranational organisations such as the World Bank. This allowed us to simultaneously sensitise the participants, which included some of the largest global investment houses, to our human rights and environmental concerns from an investor perspective and to encourage them to act. Even though no convincing new solutions were presented by the Brazilian side during the round of talks, the goal issued at the climate conference to completely prevent illegal deforestation by 2028 was confirmed. For the effectiveness of our engagement, the very constructive exchange with the Norwegian ambassador should also be mentioned. After all, with 1.21 billion US dollars, Norway is the largest donor to the so-called "Amazon Fund", through which measures are provided to prevent, control and combat deforestation and for the conservation and sustainable use of resources in the Brazilian Amazon.

In addition to this panel discussion, we have received a detailed response to our letter sent in December to FUNAI, the Brazilian government agency responsible for indigenous affairs, that we are now analysing. Furthermore we have had exchanges with some federal representatives and senators, some of whom participated in our video conference last year. This is to explore the possibilities of presenting our engagement at hearings with President Arthur Lira in the House of Representatives and with the President of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco. Our main focus here is to oppose the dramatic legislative proposals that threaten the Amazonas and the indigenous population (See Here).

 

12/2021

At the climate conference that ended last month, 105 countries, including Brazil, pledged to end deforestation by 2030. Nevertheless, the current deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has reached a new high since 2008. A whole package of disastrous laws for the situation in the Amazon and the people living there is now before the Senate for decision. Aware of these developments, we have continued our engagement unabated. In order to further increase the pressure on the Senate, we have now also written directly to the President of the Environment Committee in the Senate, Senator Jaques Wagner, asking for a dialogue. In doing so, we are once again underlining the international relevance of this sustainability issue for the Brazilian economy and the financial market. At the same time, we have followed up with the government agencies already contacted and pressed for a response. Furthermore, the Special Commission for Integral Ecology and Mining for the Brazilian Bishops' Conference (CNBB) is working intensively to introduce a speech on our engagement demands, via the opposition politicians with whom we were in conversation in August, to the National Congress.

Bank für Kirche und Caritas (BKC) is a founding member of the European institutional investor engagement network "Shareholders for Change" (SfC), which has been in existence since 2017. Through this, SfC engage with seven Brazilian and international companies in the agricultural supply chain that are involved in or at high risk of deforestation. The SfC Annual Report reports on both this engagement and our the catholic engagement with Brazil (See page 15 in the report: SfC-ENGAGEMENT-Report2021-DEF.pdf).

 

11/2021

We have continued our written dialogue with FUNAI, the Brazilian government agency responsible for indigenous affairs, and have responded to their letter. In our response letter we presented a detailed counter-argument, which leads to the conclusion that a more ambitious plan for the protection of the rainforest and the people living there must be developed and pursued. We also emphasise our short-term demands once again that includes specific legislative proposals that are already in the process of being voted on, which will have a dramatic impact on the indigenous population and the protection of the Amazon. In addition, we ask them to comment what they are doing to stop the promotion and implementation of the Marco Temporal Thesis (time frame thesis), an arbitrary cut-off date for the recognition of indigenous territorial rights. It appears to us to be of particular relevance, because the main argument for this is that according to the Marco Temporal Thesis, only lands that were physically inhabited by indigenous groups at the time of the adoption of the 1988 Constitution could be demarcated as "indigenous lands". This would exclude land from which indigenous groups were forcibly evicted. In order to further advance the pressure on the Brazilian government, we have now also written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Alberto Franco França and asked for a dialogue. In doing so, we are once again underlining the relevance of the issue for the Brazilian economy and the financial market, in addition to the ethical and sustainability reasons.

Our response letter to FUNAI can be found here.

 

10/2021

It is only a signal, but at least it is a first positive signal: according to media reports, the Brazilian delegation at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Clasgow, which starts 1st of November, will announce to end illegal deforestation of the Amazon rainforest by 2027 or 2028, according to Vice President Hamilton Mourão (see press article of The Washington Newsday). Of course, we consider this announcement still insufficient, but it shows that the international pressure, which includes our engagement activities, is having a first effect.

In order to further advance our engagement activities with the Brazilian government, we have now also written to the Minister of Economy, Paulo Roberto Nunes Guedes, in mid-October and asked for a dialogue. In addition to the pressure we have built up on the government for ethical and sustainability reasons, this should once again highlight the relevance for Brazil's economy and financial market. Furthermore, in July, we received confirmation from the International Affairs Office of the Federal Senate - Presidium that our letter had been forwarded to the Environmental Committee of the Federal Senate for processing. As we have not yet received any reaction of the Environmental Committee, we have now contacted the Environmental Committee directly. Moreover, we are currently in the process of carefully analysing the 74-page response letter received from the Ministry of the Attorney General's Office, and formulating our response based on this.

As a Catholic investor alliance, we are also in close exchange with other investor alliances that share our concern. In this context, Shareholders for Change, of which Bank für Kirche und Caritas is a founding member, led by its member Ethos Foundation, launched an engagement in September with seven companies active in the soy and beef value chains in Brazil, which are among the risk drivers of deforestation in the Amazon. For more information on this engagement, see the SfC newsletter.

 

08/2021

On 25th August Bank für Kirche und Caritas (BKC), the Special Commission on Integral Ecology and Mining for the Brazilian Bishops' Conference (CNBB) and the Laudato Si Movement (former GCCM) met with the minority leader in the Brazilian Congress, Marcelo Freixo, and several opposition politicians for an online hearing. During the intense and long debate BKC, CNBB and GCCM underlined the urgency of the environmental and social problems in the Amazon and the role they play for investors. As a result of the exchange, Marcelo Freixo summarised that the environmental destruction promoted by the government can have and already has enormous effects on the Brazilian economy, as it drives away investors. This is why, he said, it is important for the opposition to push the government to negotiate in a way that also takes into account the concerns of investors. The proposal of the opposition politicians present to initiate a hearing in the National Congress (Federal Senate and Chamber of Deputies), in which the perspective of international financial investors on the protection of the Amazon and the indigenous population is brought in, therefore also meets with our fullest approval. This is because most parliamentarians are not aware of the investor pressure on this issue and it could form an important contribution to the discussion in the decision-making process on laws concerning the Amazon.

Here is the presentation given by BKC in english.

 

06/2021

On 24 June, Bank für Kirche und Caritas (BKC), the Special Commission on Integral Ecology and Mining for the Brazilian Bishops' Conference (CNBB) and the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) coordinated further steps in their engagement with Brazil to protect the Amazon and indigenous peoples, which was launched in March. After initial reactions from the Vice President's Office and the Ministry of Justice, we have now entered into a dialogue with FUNAI, the Brazilian government agency responsible for indigenous affairs. In addition to the demands we have already formulated, we are now very specifically addressing legislative proposals that are already in the process of being voted on, which will have a dramatic impact on the indigenous population and the protection of the Amazon.

BKC, GCCM, CNBB, who are leading this engagement with nearly 100 Catholic institutions, have once again emphasised how important it is to create awareness for the current situation and the threatening legislative proposals. Therefore, we already have an extensive exchange of information with like-minded investor groups, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders to advance our engagement demands, and we will continue our networking activities intensively.

Our response letter to FUNAI can be found here.

 

06/2021

In addition to the initial response to our letter from the President's personal office, which forwarded our request to the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Justice, we have now received a reply from the Ministry of Justice. In a multi-page statement, FUNAI (Fundacao Nacional do Indio), which is subordinate to the Ministry of Justice and is the Brazilian governmental body for the affairs of the indigenous population of Brazil, presents its point of view. In addition, the Ministry of Justice has shown itself willing to engage in further dialogue. We are currently in the process of carefully analysing the feedback given and, based on this, seeking dialogue. We have also received a response from the Vice-President's personal office. In his response, it is stated that Amazon conservation is a priority on the Brazilian government's agenda and that the National Council for the Legal Amazon (CNAL) is responsible for its implementation. It was expressed that the CNAL is ready for a dialogue and we wrote to them.

We continue to be pleased with the great media attention that we have been able to achieve with our engagement. Well over 80 Brazilian and international media reported on this. This high media attention generates additional pressure on the Brazilian government from the public and important stakeholders. As planned, we held very fruitful discussions with various investor alliances that are also committed to protecting the Amazon. We discussed mutual support in advancing our common cause. Of great importance is here the possibility to mention to the Brazilian government that we are aware of the respective other engagement activities and are in an information exchange. This increases the pressure on the Brazilian government to act, which has been built up by investors.

 

04/2021

More than 60 media worldwide have reported on our engagement in different languages. Extremely renowned daily and financial media as well as Catholic media have reported on it. This high level of media attention is not only proof that our engagement represents an urgent issue, but also generates the necessary public attention to increase pressure on the Brazilian government. In response to our engagement letter to President Jair Bolsonaro, we received an official letter from the President's personal office confirming that our letter had been forwarded to the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Environment due to the jurisdiction of our concern "Protection of the Amazon and Indigenous Peoples". This response may not be considered very significant in itself. However, representatives of the Brazilian Bishops' Conference confirmed that there is usually no response to similar attempts at dialogue. Thus, this initial response can be seen as positive and we hope for a willingness to dialogue in the coming weeks. As planned, we have made contact with various investor alliances that have already started similar engagement activities with Brazil. The aim is to examine how we can bring our common concern to the Brazilian government with more pressure through information exchange, mutual support and cooperation.

Media Clipping

 

03/2021

On 29 March 2021, a group of nearly 100 Catholic institutions, led by the The Special Commission on Integral Ecology and Mining for the Brazilian Bishops' Conference (CNBB), the international Catholic network Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) and the German Catholic Church Bank Bank für Kirche und Caritas (BKC) sent a letter to high-ranking Brazilian government representatives and officials with clear demands to protect the Amazon and the indigenous people living there. The letter was sent by mail and email. In detail, the following addressees have been written to: President, Vice President, Minister for the Environment, President of the House of Representatives, President of the Federal Senate, President of the Federal Supreme Court, Attorney General of the Republic. In addition the engagement letter has been published as an open letter and given to the press. We now hope that the Brazilian government will be willing to start a dialogue.

Further information on Bank für Kirche und Caritas eG

As a Catholic church bank, the Bank für Kirche und Caritas eG has been offering a full range of banking services to its church and charitable clients since 1972. With total assets of around 5.6 billion euros and almost 150 employees, it meets the special requirements of church and charitable institutions. As a pioneer among banks in Germany, it has been implementing the ethical value orientation of its Catholic clients in its investments and overall banking business for nearly 20 years now.

In addition to the ethical-sustainable investment strategy developed by the bank, BKC Asset Management also implements specific ethical-sustainable requirements of the clients in their individual asset management or special funds.