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Veracel Celulose, Brazil


Veracel Celulose, owned 50% by the Swedish-Finnish transnational Stora Enso and 50% by the Brazilian Fibria (ex-Aracruz Celulose) started operating in the Extreme South of Bahia, Brazil, in 1992, being denounced for deforesting the native 'Mata Atlantica' (Atlantic Rainforest) for planting eucalyptus monoculture plantations in the municipality of Eunapolis. Since then it has expanded over 10 municipalities.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Veracel Celulose, Brazil
State or province:Bahia
Location of conflict:Eunapolis
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Eucalyptus
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Veracel Celulose controls a total area of 211,676 ha, of which 92,744 ha with eucalyptus plantations in 10 municipalities, besides 23,000 ha of out-sourced plantations through contracts with farmers. In 2010, the plantations supplied the pulp mill in Eunapolis with 3,774 million m3 of wood. The pulp mill produces 1,2 million tons of celullose/year. The expansion plan that is in the environmental licensing procedure this year (2011) includes another 107,000 ha of plantations and another 1,5 million tons of celullose production annually, more than duplicating the production capacity.

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Project area:234676
Level of Investment:1,000,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1992
Company names or state enterprises:Veracel Celulose S/A from Finland
Poyry from Finland - laborated first Environmental Impact Assessment - afterwards supplied services during construction pulp mill
Relevant government actors:State Government of Bahia, CEPRAM - State Council for Environment of Bahia, INEMA - Institute for Environmental and Water Resources of Bahia, Federal Government, IBAMA - Brazilian Institute for Environment, State of Bahia and Federal Prosecution Services, including for Labour Issues, municipal council for environment
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Investment Bank (EIB)
Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) from Finland
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Cepedes - Centre for Studies and Research for the Development of the Extreme South of Bahia - Eunapolis, Padre Jose Foundation - Teiixeira de Freitas, Socio-environmental Forum of the Extreme South of Bahia, Alert against the Green Desert Network, Brazilian Network for Environmental Justice, World Rainforest Movement
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Trade unions
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Fires, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:agrarian land reform, demarcation indigenous lands, strenghtening local food production and sovereignty
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Several areas have been occupied by the landless peasant movement and are producing food for local market now; also increased recognition that these areas have been fraudulently registered, and belong to the state ('terras devolutas')
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Brazilian labor legislation (almost a thousand cases in court of workers against the company)

international agreements signed by Brazil on social, economic, cultural (and environmental) rights (PIDESC)

Brazilian Constitution: right on a healthy environment, social funcion of the land, right of indigenous peoples to occupy land that they traditionally occupy (Veracel has eucalyptus plantations on indigenous lands!)

Brazilian environmental legislation (plantation of eucalyptus in areas close national parks, agro-toxins, water consumption and contamination)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Forest Management Plan Veracel Celulose ()
[click to view]

Violacoees socio-ambientais promovidas pela Veracel Celulose, propriedade da Stora Enso e Aracruz Celulose, Cepedes, 2009

Environmental Impact Assessment Report about expansion Veracel, Cepemar/Cosmos, April 2011, Vol. I

Public Prosecution Service of Bahia, Judicial Notification, file 002057-50.2011.805.0079, 20/07/2011

An Overview of Tree plantations in the Global South
[click to view]

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[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Winnie Overbeek
Last update18/08/2019
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