Veracel mosaic rainforest

Sustainable resettlement in Brazil

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Illegal land invasions of private property are a long-running challenge in Brazil that has affected various actors that use land, such as mining companies and farming businesses. Some areas of our joint operation Veracel’s land have been illegally occupied since 2008. While Veracel is not the root cause of the problems that landless people face, it aims to be part of the local solution without taking on the role of the state.

Veracel strives to maintain continuous dialogue with landless movements and supports land allocations through the Sustainable Settlements Initiative, launched in 2012. The initiative continued to provide farmland and technical and educational support to hundreds of families to improve their incomes. The Sustainable Settlements Initiative is facilitated by the Government of the State of Bahía and is conducted in cooperation with the National Institute of Colonisation and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) and the representatives of six officially recognised landless people’s social movements. The movements have pledged to leave areas that were occupied after July 2011, while Veracel has agreed not to seek to repossess areas occupied before this date. The initiative relates to a total area of approximately 16 500 hectares of Veracel’s lands designated for the settlements to be purchased from the company by INCRA. Veracel continues to support the transition of families from these settlements to more permanent residencies on the same land, as the legal processes regarding their claim to the land are resolved over time. This support includes assisting farmers in improving productivity, the construction of food production units, and help with the commercialisation and marketing of the produce. The goal is to gradually transfer full responsibility of the area to the families by 2022.

In line with a 2018 agreement that complements the earlier Sustainable Settlement Initiative, Veracel has agreed to sell approximately 3 500 hectares of previously occupied land to the movements on which to grow food. In 2020, Veracel began cooperation with the Federal University of Southern Bahía (UFSB) to support these new settlements by conducting socio-environmental profiles of the families, training farmers in, for example, productivity planning, and monitoring results. The total value of the 5-year agreement with UFSB, to be carried out in stages, is over EUR 750 000. In total, since 2012, Veracel has voluntarily approved the transfer of approximately 20 000 hectares of land to benefit landless people.

At the end of 2020, the total land area owned by Veracel was 213 000 hectares, of which 82 000 hectares are planted with eucalyptus for pulp production.

At the end of the year, 111 hectares or 0.1% of productive land owned by Veracel were occupied by social landless movements not involved in the agreements. Veracel continues to recover occupied areas through legal processes.  

Agreements with social landless movements and land occupations in Bahia, Brazil
31 Dec 2021 30 Sept 2021 31 Dec 2020
Productive area occupied by social movements not involved in the agreements, ha 0.1% 0.3% 0.3%

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