New Brazilian environmental law tightens restrictions on businesses

November 16, 2012
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Restriction on Businesses

Brazil’s food industry – second only to its petroleum sector – is so substantial that it helps to anchor the country’s GDP and keep its unemployment rate stable. As a major supplier of much of the world’s soy, coffee, sugar, corn and oranges, the continued production of these goods is critical.

But, at what cost to the environment?

This is the question that recently spurred the Brazilian government into action, through the reform of the country’s Forest Code, which had been largely unchanged since 1965. The new law is intended to restore much of the treasured Amazon Rainforest, parts of which had been clearcut in order to account for crop growth.

Even though increased legal provisions against excessive deforestation – and the government’s reliance on satellite imagery – have helped slow devastation, Brazil’s government still felt that an overhaul to the Forest Cost was necessary.

Lawyers in Brazil understand the law’s new provisions

Last month, President Dilma Rousseff vetoed key provisions of the bill, toughening the law in such a way that increased reforestation will be mandatory. The government estimates that the total acreage that could be restored is equal to the size of Italy.

Still, the law is not without its critics.

“The presidential veto slightly improves the text approved by Congress, which was awful, but the new code is not tough enough for recovery of deforested areas and it reduces forest protection,” Greenpeace’s Paulo Adario told Sustainable Business News.

There is no question that many businesses have interests that will conflict with Brazil’s new environmental policies. To avoid government sanctions, businesses need to fully understand the terms of the Forest Code. Lawyers in Brazil can help them to reach the necessary level of comprehension and represent their interests in the country if necessary.

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