The agro continues to lead the Brazil towards a new pattern of development, in which environmental sustainability, coordinated with the improvement of social indices, serves as a global parameter for prosperity and decent and fair work. Of course, there are still huge advances to be made, but it is one of the sectors in which the Brazil acts as a world leader in the implementation of best environmental, social and governance practices, also known as column ESG.
There are criminals, however, disguised as rural producers, who destroy nature and violate traditional peoples and knowledge. They seek profit from extractivism and land speculation, creating tiny heads of cattle and planting few plants of some kind to justify irregular land titles. These crooks must be severely held accountable.
While the national agro is environmentally adequate and socially fair, the less productive agro that needs protection is usually guided by the vilification of the environment and the exploitation of labor.
O agribusiness Brazilian society differs diametrically from this barbarism, seeking to develop transparent mechanisms of governance to combat this type of private criminality that only exists as long as it is cultivated under the cloak of corruption public. Therefore, harmful postures such as those are fought daily, as recognized in the panel Accelerating a just rural transition to sustainable agriculture at COP-26, with reforestation and preservation actions coordinated with agricultural production practices. The truth is that the national agribusiness is an example of ESG to the world, as referred to in the aforementioned panel.
O Brazilian agro is responsible for the preservation of 33.2% of the country’s environmental areas. The data are the result of a new study released by the Embrapa Territorial which showed that about 1/3 of the protected areas in the country are inside rural properties. The study analyzed almost 6 million establishments, using data from the Agricultural Census and the National Rural Environmental Registry System (Sicar), and concluded that producers preserve 282.8 million hectares.
Another relevant data shows that, on average, 49.4% of the areas of the properties are being used for agricultural activity, that is, practically half are preserved. Overall, the study of Embrapa indicates that Brazil has more than 66% of protected and preserved areas.
Furthermore, the productivity of Brazilian agriculture, according to a report by the Economic Research Servicean agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), was the fastest growing in the 21st century, with an average growth rate of 3.18% per year.
A reflection of this productive improvement is the optimization in the use of pesticides: recent research, published in an event organized by FAO/UN, EMBRAPA, ABAG and ANDEF, shows that Brazil is one of the countries with high agricultural production that uses less chemicals, in proportion to the its production. In addition, there is better application of molecules that are increasingly suitable for the culture, generating less environmental and social liabilities.
The increase in productivity is also reflected in the life of rural workers. Recent data from the IBGE show that there has been a consistent improvement in the social indicators of these workers.
Furthermore, Brazil, a recent signatory to the Structured Discussions on Trade and Environmental Sustainability, an initiative of the World Trade Organization (WTO), has sought alternatives to liberalize agricultural trade, eliminating subsidies and promoting an agenda of sustainability.
Protectionism, often implemented as a phytosanitary barrier to Brazilian products, generates greater distortion and unsustainability, as it prevents (cleaner) Brazilian products from reaching markets, encouraging unsustainable and predatory subsidized practices.
In short, while the national agribusiness is environmentally adequate and socially fair, guided by the best practices aimed at increasing the dignity of work, the low-productive agriculture that needs protection is usually guided by the vilification of the environment and by exploiting the workforce.
However, the National Innovation Policy, established by Decree 10,534, that should guide the elaboration of public policies related to science, technology and innovation (ST&I) suffers from budgetary resources for their implementation. Agriculture, although extremely productive and sustainable, needs public policies that encourage the addition of greater added value to its products.
In this way, Brazilian agricultural competitiveness, already strong, will tend to grow even more. So that the agro continues to be, more and more, the ESG in Brazil, institutional improvement is needed to enhance agropastoral productivity in a more innovative and technological way. Today, agro is justice, inclusion and sustainability, and it has the potential to be much more!
André Naves is a federal public defender, speaker, writer and teacher. He is an expert at the Millennium Institute.