Carrefour Brasil Group, the Brazilian arm of the French multinational retailer, and IDH have announced a partnership to increase sustainable calf production, protect tropical forest and improve livelihoods in Mato Grosso state in Brazil.
By 2020, the partners will invest more than EUR 3 million in the Sustainable Production of Calves Initiative in the valley regions of Juruena and Araguaia.
The Carrefour Foundation, the international institution responsible for the Carrefour Group’s social investment, will invest EUR 1,9 million to support 450 farmers in a strong and fair beef production chain, building a viable economic and social model. IDH will co-invest EUR 1,6 million.
Activities proposed by the program have the potential to unlock approximately EUR 25 million in further investments, and to protect and restore more than 151,000 hectares (373,129 acres) of tropical forest.
Paulo Pianez, Director of Sustainability at the Carrefour Group, said:
“One of the main benefits of the Sustainable Production of Calves initiative is that it intensifies farm production while preserving forest resources, promoting sustainable and economically viable production.”
Daniela Mariuzzo, Country Director at IDH Brazil, said:
“This a groundbreaking approach to sustainable development, as it connects national and international markets to sustainably managed production areas. It is a new sustainable market mechanism that rewards regions that address environmental, social and economic sustainability in one approach.”
The program, which is supported by Mato Grosso state government as part of its Produce, Conserve and Include (PCI) strategy, covers 156,000 hectares (385,484 acres) of land and will last for three years, starting in 2018.
Key activities will include: intensifying cattle ranching, restoring degraded pastureland, and freeing up land for increasing production sustainably. This will accelerate economic development in the area without the need for converting forests into farmland.
In addition, the initiative aims to boost livelihood opportunities by providing technical assistance and access to credit to farmers, and helping them comply with the Brazilian Forest Code – a set of legal requirements for landowners on forest conservation on their properties.
Sophie Fourchy, Director of the Carrefour Foundation, said:
“The project focuses on the socio-economic inclusion of these smallholders, providing the complete structure for sustainable development, with technical knowledge, access to finance, fair compensation and legality,”
The Araguaia and Juruena valley regions play an important role in the production of milk and beef in Brazil, accounting for more than 40% of calves in Mato Gross state. They are also areas of outstanding environmental importance, located within two major biomes: the Amazon rainforest and the Cerrado savannah.
Land clearing for timber, followed by cattle ranching in the cleared area, is the biggest driver of illegal deforestation in Mato Grosso. More than half of the ranches are highly unproductive. Intensifying cattle production to free up land for responsible farming is key to stopping deforestation in the region.
The initiative reinforces Carrefour’s global commitment to zero deforestation. It will also contribute to Brazil’s national goals, declared by the UN under the Paris Agreement, which stress restoring degraded pastureland, reducing deforestation and encouraging low-carbon agriculture.
The implementation partners of the program are Acrimat, NatCap and São Marcelo Farm.