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Climate Campaign in Brazil Targets U.S. Companies

Vitae Civilis Instituto para o Desenvolvimento, Meio Ambiente e Paz
July 19th, 2001

July 17, 2001 -- Brazilian NGOs pressure 20 largest U.S. owned companies to ask President Bush to support ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

The 20 largest U. S. owned companies in Brazil are being challenged to show Brazilian consumers that they are committed to social responsibility and the environment.

Vitae Civilis, a non-governmental organization that since 1989 has been actively participating in international discussions on climate change and global warming (including participation in the negotiations for the Kyoto Protocol) is sending a letter to the 20 largest companies in Brazil with controlling shares held in the U.S. to discover if they are in favor of or opposed to the decision of President George Bush Jr. to withdraw support for the Kyoto Protocol, the global agreement under the U. N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which requires industrialized countries to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases.

The letter asks the directors of the companies to request that their parent companies in the United States write to President Bush requesting that he support ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, preferably before the Rio + 10 meeting set for September of 2002), and to use this agreement as the basis for domestic actions to reduce emissions within the United States, which is today responsible for around 25% of current greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

Our initiative is taken in conjunction with other efforts being made around the world by groups linked to the Climate Action Network, an international network of NGOs active in the issue of climate change. The refusal of the President of the United States to support the Kyoto Protocal is a declaration of social and environmental irresponsibility on a global scale. It has been widely reported in the international media that this position resulted from a lobby of the principal American companies responsible for the problem, seeking to maintain their own vested interests at the expense of the global environment and humanity, stated Rubens Born, general coordinator of Vitae Civilis. Born also participates in the Brazilian Climate Change Forum, created by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, which met recently (July 4th) in Brasilia.

The responses from the Brazilian corporate affiliates to the letter sent by Vitae Civilis will be made public to help Brazilian consumers make purchasing decisions about products and services of U. S. owned companies, based on whether these companies put into practice environmental and social responsibility, and the importance the place on national and international efforts to protect the environment, explained Born.

A growing and authoritative body of scientific evidence indicates that without strong actions to prevent and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, climatic changes will have a disastrous impact on economies, ecosystems and human populations throughout the world. In March of this year, the President of the United States declared his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, which was the result of a long process of international negotiations, and was considered an essential first step to mitigate and if possible prevent the global disaster resulting from climate change. The Brazilian government has expressed strong support to the principals and commitments in the Kyoto Protocol.

Negotiations over the implementation of this Protocol were interrupted in November of 2000, during the Sixth Conference of the Parties to the Climate Convention (CoP-6), held in The Hague, Holland, because of disagreements between industrialized countries over meeting the emission reductions targets. On July 16-22, 2001, representatives of more than 100 countries will meet in Bonn, Germany, to try to overcome these obstacles, which were aggravated by the position of the USA. Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, in a meeting of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change on July 4th, oriented the Brazilian delegation participating in these negotiations to insist that the international commitments made previously be followed.

The 20 U. S. owned companies in Brazil that are receiving the letter from Vitae Civilis are:

COMPANY - CITY
  1. General Motors, So Caetano do Sul -

  2. Embratel, Rio de Janeiro-

  3. Texaco, Rio de Janeiro -

  4. Esso, Rio de Janeiro -

  5. Ford, So Bernardo do Campo-

  6. Cargill, So Paulo -

  7. IBM, Rio de Janeiro -

  8. Multibrs, So Paulo-

  9. Xerox, Vitria, ES-

  10. Motorola, Jaguarina, SP-

  11. ALCOA, Poos de Caldos, MG-

  12. Intel, So Paulo-

  13. Elektro, So Paulo-

  14. Avon, So Paulo-

  15. Goodyear, So Paulo-

  16. McDonalds, So Paulo -

  17. Philip Morris, So Paulo -

  18. Hewlett-Packard Brazil, Barueri, SP -

  19. Kraft Lacta, So Paulo-

  20. Arisco, Goina, GO.

(Source: EXAME, June, 2000 ( pg. 78): The 20 largest private companies in Brazil in 1999, by sales, with controlling shares held in the United States)

The NGOs endorsing the letter are:

Organization - Name - Position - City - State
  1. Vitae Civilis Instituto para o Desenvolvimento, Meio Ambiente e Paz- Rubens Born and Mark Lutes- Coordenador Executivo and Col. Mudana de clima -So Loureno da Serra -SP

  2. RMA - Rede de ONGs da Mata Atlntica (Atlantic Forest NGOs Network) -National Coordinator (a) Renato Cunha - representing + 120 NGOs in Brazil

  3. Fundao SOS Mata Atlntica Mario Mantovani Coordenador Rel. Institucionais So Paulo SP

  4. GAMBA - Grupo Ambientalista da Bahia Renato Cunha Coordenador Salvador BA

  5. Amigos da Terra - Ncleo Brasil Ktia Vasconcelos -coordenadora -Porto Alegre RS

  6. Amigos da Terra - Programa Amaznia -Mrio Manzoni Coord. Projeto Eco-finanas So Paulo-SP

  7. INESC - Instituto de Estudos Scio Econmicos- Hlcio Marcelo de Souza Coord. De Meio Ambiente -Braslia DF

  8. IDEC - Instituto de Defesa do Consumidor - Brazilian Institute for the Defense of Consumers - Marilena Lazarrini Diretora So Paulo SP

  9. WWF - Brasil - Fundo Mundial para a Natureza -Garo Batmanian e Analuce Freitas -Diretor geral e Coord. Polticas Pblicas -Braslia DF

  10. ECOA - Ecologia e Ao- Alcides Faria -Diretor Campo Grande MS

  11. ASPAN - Associao Pernambucana de Defesa da Natureza -Maria Adlia Oliveira -Presidente- Recife PE

  12. Mater Natura Instituto de Estudos Ambientais -Paulo Pizzi -Diretor -Curitiba PR

  13. FASE - Federao de rgos de Assistncia Social e Educacional -Maria Emlia e Jean Pierre Leroy Diretora e Coord. Desen. Sustentvel -Rio de Janeiro RJ

  14. Associao de RPPN - Reservas Particulares de Proteo a Natureza de SP
    -Horacio Tackano -diretor -So Paulo SP

  15. Instituto Ambiental de Estudos e Assessoria- Geovana Cartaxo- Diretora-Fortaleza CE

  16. APREMAVI -Miriam Prochnow -Presidente -Rio do Sul SC

  17. Fundao Euterpe Edulis- Gert R. Fischer -Diretor- Joinville SC

  18. Sociedade de Pesquisa em Vida Selvagem SPVS -Clvis Borges -Diretor-Curitiba PR

  19. Instituto Brasileiro de Anlises Sociais e Econmicas - IBASE- Nahyda Franca von der Weid -Coordenadora do Projeto Meio Ambiente e Democracia Rio de Janeiro RJ

  20. Instituto Gondwana -Roberto Bleier -Diretor- Litoral Norte e Vale do Paraba-SP

  21. AGUA - Associao dos Amigos e Moradores do Bairro do Guapiruvu- Milena Agripina Mendes -Secretaria geral -Sete Barras SP

  22. Greenpeace - Sao Paulo - SP

For more Information:

VITAE CIVILIS Institute for Development, Environment and Peace
Tel: (11) 4686-2303 or 4686-1965
Contacts at Vitae Civilis: Dr. Rubens Born, coordinator,
and Simone Jardim, Journalist
E-mail: clima@vitaecivilis.org.br