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Spanish pork on Czech grills has been confirmed to destroy the Amazon

“I don’t have everything well thought out, but after about 30 years since I became a vegetarian for ethical reasons, I know that animal production in particular is responsible for deforestation, because it is necessary to grow animal feed,” said Alina Pravdova. cz associated with deforestation.

A survey by Median for Fairtrade showed that deforestation is disturbing large parts of the Czech Republic. “50% of respondents are interested in the origin of the purchased goods and 54% of people are affected by the cutting of native forests and rainforests. For young people aged 15-24 years, the percentage is up to 68%,” summarizes the results of Fair Trade Director Lubomir Kadani.

Europe is one of the biggest culprits of deforestation. Products imported into EU countries are associated with 16 percent of global deforestation, which is largely due to soybeans imported from Latin America. He says it is used as livestock feed in three quarters of cases World Conservation Fund (WWF) Report.

Pork from Spain

It is not easy to establish a direct link between the destruction of rare habitats and specific products. in the new studies Researchers from the organization Carro de Combate tried to do this on the example of Spain, the largest exporter of pork in the European Union, which can also be found in Czech stores. According to another statistical In 2020, Spanish pork accounted for more than half of Czech food imports. We imported meat from the country for 9.4 billion crowns.

Cutting down the Amazon rainforest

A ban on deforestation for growing soybeans in the Amazon rainforest has been in place since 2004, and the situation is temporarily beginning to improve. However, after President Jair Bolsonaro’s arrival, cutting again reached record levels. The rate of deforestation increased by 20 percent last year.

Spanish researchers have monitored the entire soybean supply chain for the past five years. The crop travels from fields in South America through Brazilian ports to European cities and Spanish farms and as pigs to the dishes of Czech citizens.

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The study found that most of the soybeans used in Spain as feed came either directly from the Amazon rainforest or from a large complex of savannahs and cerados. Either way, there is massive cutting of native forests, fires, and destruction of ecosystems.

The study sees a particular problem in the case of Sirad, where 1,400 square kilometers of native plants disappear each year and where a quarter of soybeans imported into the European Union come. This is twice the size of Šumava National Park for comparison.

Due to cases such as Spanish ham, some release rooms, spoken by Czechs, consume less meat, or even no meat at all. “If all people were vegetarians or vegans, much less land would be needed,” Pravdova, who has been eating meat for about 30 years, noted. In the mentioned hypothetical scenario, cropping would be sufficient Three-quarters Less than agricultural land today.

soybeans in the czech republic

Brazilian soybeans also enter the Czech Republic directly, but partly “in secret”. In her case, importers do not have to indicate their country of origin. The editorial team has addressed dozens of feed manufacturers. Some of them did not exclude that the soybeans in their products originated in South America.

“The European Union imports soybeans mainly from the United States, Argentina and Brazil. It will then arrive in the Czech Republic mainly from Germany and the Netherlands,” explained Jan Kovacic of ZEAS Podorlicko, which produces, among other things, compound feed for livestock.

However, the director of the Commodity and Feed Association, Karla Sizova, stated that there is a growing interest among retailers not to get involved in deforestation. “Although this topic is still initially in our country, it certainly arouses gradually increasing interest and subsequent specific interest and activities, both on the part of customers and, above all, manufacturers and their customers,” says Sizova.

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unknown origin

In addition to soybeans, other crops are also involved in deforestation. The Czechs, most often, edited palm oil. “The effect this product had on deforestation, and on the local population as well, quickly convinced me that I didn’t want to get involved in it,” Johanna Delikova said.

According to his words, he monitors certifications that guarantee the tropical production of tropical foods, such as chocolate or coffee. She adds that not all are reliable.

Certification is provided, for example, by the above-mentioned fair trade organization. “Fair Trade standards prohibit cutting down trees in protected areas to grow other crops,” says Kadaň Director. In addition, the organization enables farmers to improve soil conditions, provide training and help clarify the challenges they face.

However, the drawback is that there are a large number of different testimonials, and in the past some have shown that the desired results are not at all They do not know. Jan Frydinger, Greenpeace expert, stated that the origin and effects of the product are often untraceable and that there should be uniform rules.

“Commodity production may or may not be behind deforestation and ecosystem destruction. The European customer has virtually no chance of finding out. There are a number of certification schemes, promises and voluntary commitments by companies, but unfortunately it turns out that they will not work voluntarily and we need to Truly enforceable rules that allow Europeans to make peaceful purchases without waking their conscience that a piece of Amazon has ended up destroying our cart.” Friedinger explains.

Forests are carbon sinks

Restoring and expanding the carbon sequestration capacity of forests and agricultural areas is one of the most effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally. It could provide about a third, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

However, the trajectory is the opposite for now. Every six seconds a tropical forest the size of a football field disappears and global emissions increase. As greenhouse gases are emitted, so does temperature. In the Czech Republic, its temperature has risen by about two degrees Celsius since the 1960s. We are already feeling the effects of climate change, for example in the form of historically unprecedented droughts between 2015 and 2020.

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Brussels decided to eliminate the footprint of Europeans in the forests of the world. A new regulation is being prepared in the European Union to regulate the import of destroyed products. Companies will have to prove that their products do not disappear forests, or else they will face heavy fines.

The regulation can be implemented from 2023, and its final form is currently being finalized. Environmentalists acknowledge that the proposal is going in the right direction, but at the same time it has big gaps, because it does not cover many ecosystems, such as wetlands or savannas like the Cerrado. In addition, it concerns only a limited number of goods and neglects rubber, corn or pork and chicken, for example.

Om the proposal to limit forests and forest degradation only and omit other valuable ecosystems, such as wetlands, savannas or peatlands, that play a role in protecting biodiversity and mitigating climate change (Mitigation, mainly due to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions – NB. red.) is an equally important role, and is the biggest weakness of the pioneering proposal. Another area worthy of improvement is the protection of human and indigenous rights,” adds Freidinger of Greenpeace.

The regulation is expected to be approved during the Czech presidency. So the Czech ministers have a chance to push for these changes.