The Human and Environmental Cost of Land Business | Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos

PDF Version of Report.

This report describes and analyzes the human rights and environmental impacts of agribusiness expansion and land speculation in the Brazilian region of MATOPIBA (Northeast/North of Brazil).1 It is based on two fact-finding missions, which took place in September 2017 and January 2018. The first mission documented the consequences of land grabbing for communities in the Brazilian state of Piauí and held meetings with Brazilian state authorities. The second mission took place in Europe and focused on the involvement of pension funds from the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden, in the expansion of agribusiness and land grabbing in the MATOPIBA region.

Human Rights and the Financialization of Land

The MATOPIBA region is witnessing the transformation of land into a dematerialized financial asset as a result of the growing power and influence of global finance, and its ways of operating – a process called ‚financialization‘. One expression of this process is the fact that financial actors (such as banks, brokerage companies, insurances, pension funds, hedge funds, investment firms, and venture capital funds), increasingly consider land as an attractive investment option. These financial actors channel capital into land purchases and land-based activities in order to diversify their investments, increase returns, and lower the risks for their portfolios. Pension schemes and pension funds are among the leading actors in the context of financialization of land and land grabbing. Human rights provide

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