Everyone knows the fossil fuel industry is a key climate culprit. But there’s another industry – responsible for vast greenhouse gas emissions – that continues to largely fly under the radar. Agribusiness.

We know from our forests work that there is a toxic trilogy of big agribusiness, human rights abuses, and deforestation. Land grabbing accounts for deforestation in the Amazon of an area the size of Turkey

The Amazon forest continues to shrink at alarming rates and around the world, 50 small scale farmers were killed last year protecting their land or the environment.

Time and time again our forest investigations reveal a pattern. Land is grabbed, the local population violently abused and forcibly evicted, the land is deforested, and then it is used to grow crops or graze cattle for international commodity firms.

This is all made possible by international financiers many of whom are at this conference, sitting on panels talking about their environmental credentials. Our recent investigation shows that in the last year some big name financiers like Deutsche Bank and Blackrock – both members of the net zero group, GFANZ - increased their exposure to agri-business companies with a deforestation record[1].

It has to stop.

If you want to know more, this shocking 9 minute video tells you all you need to know about the toxic trilogy, enabled by finance.

The agricultural commodity firm, Cargill, features in the video. They are also registered to attend this COP Conference. Last year they posted their biggest profit in their 156 year history. So at Global Witness, we think they can afford to do due diligence properly. And we think their financiers have a duty to take them to task.

But there’s no time left to hope that agribusiness and their financiers will do the right thing. We’ve been disappointed too many times. We need to use the law to make them do it – for the sake of the people who are losing their lives so that we can have palm oil in our ice creams and soy for factory farm feed- and for the sake of the planet.

That’s why Global Witness is advocating for legal change in key consumer countries and financial hubs. Join us!

[1]These firms were offered a chance to respond and their responses are contained in the report

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COP Climate Summit


  • Veronica Oakeshott

    Campaign Strategy Lead, Forests Policy and Advocacy