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Coca-Cola is the latest global brand to 'Adopt a Park' in the Brazilian Amazon

The ministry said the funds would pay for infrastructure improvements and environmental conservation, without giving further details

Workers walk past a Coca Cola logo painted on a gate at a Coca Cola factory in Nairobi, Kenya, June 7, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner/ File Photo
  • More than 11,000 square kilometers were deforested in Brazil’s Amazon in the 12-months through July 2020, an area 14 times the size of New York City, according to the latest annual data available from government space research agency Inpe;
  • Environmentalists blame the surge on Bolsonaro, who has weakened environmental enforcement agencies and called for more development in protected areas.

Coca-Cola on Wednesday agreed to sponsor a protected reserve in the Amazon rainforest, joining beer maker Heineken and a growing list of global corporations signing up to the Brazilian government’s “Adopt a Park” program.

Environmentalists say that the program, launched by the right-wing government of President Jair Bolsonaro this year, amounts to “greenwashing,” or a cosmetic move aimed to improve the government’s image, at a time when deforestation is soaring.

READ ALSO: Amazon deforestation and skepticism about Brazil’s commitment weaken EU and Mercosur relations

Acting via its Brazilian subsidiary, Coca-Cola is the eighth company to join the program by adopting the Javari-Buriti Area of Relevant Ecological Interest for BRL 658,850 ($122,109) for a period of one year.

The park occupies 132 square kilometers in the remote western portion of Brazil‘s Amazonas state and includes one of the densest formations of Buriti palm forest in the world.

Heineken earlier this month pledged BRL 466,900 to sponsor a 93 square kilometer Amazon reserve that is home to a traditional community of escaped slaves in Maranhão state.

READ ALSO: A California-based NGO is deploying Huawei’s cloud AI to monitor rainforests in Latin America

More than 11,000 square kilometers were deforested in Brazil‘s Amazon in the 12-months through July 2020, an area 14 times the size of New York City, according to the latest annual data available from government space research agency Inpe.

Environmentalists blame the surge on Bolsonaro, who has weakened environmental enforcement agencies and called for more development in protected areas. Adopt a Park is only an attempt to improve the government’s image, they say.

“The government should reverse the environmental dismantling … instead of this program which opens up a huge space for greenwashing and doesn’t solve the problem,” said Cristiane Mazzetti, a conservationist with advocacy group Greenpeace Brasil, in a statement.

READ ALSO: Brazil needs $10 billion a year in aid for carbon neutrality by 2050, minister says

The Environment Ministry and parks service ICMBio did not respond to requests for comment on that criticism. The ministry said the funds would pay for infrastructure improvements and environmental conservation, without giving further details.

Coca-Cola Brasil said adopting the park is part of its long track record of conservation in the Amazon, without responding to questions about greenwashing.

Heineken did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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