New! Rabobank facilitates lobbying by Brazilian deforesters with billions

20 March 2024

New research by the Fair Bank Guide, in collaboration with the Brazilian research collective Olho de Ruralistas, exposes for the first time the lobbying practices in Brazil by the business customers of Dutch banks. Between 2019 and 2023 ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank financed almost $2 billion to 18 key players within the agrilobby in Brazil. Rabobank is by far the largest with 86% of all transactions and thus facilitates deforestation, environmental pollution and human rights violations in Brazil.

The major agri-lobby's companies are thwarting important initiatives by Brazilian President Lula to improve environmental standards and social rights. Julia Bakker, spokesperson for the Fair Bank Guide, says: "The study shows that Rabobank, ABN AMRO, and ING must monitor their customers more effectively and clarify in their policies how they address these types of lobbying practices. As the largest Dutch financier in Brazil, Rabobank has to take the lead here."

Agribusiness Parliamentary Front serves as an important lobbying channel

The research analyzes Dutch financing of 18 key players in the agri-lobby in Brazil, such as meat giants JBS, Marfrig, and Minerva. For example, between 2019 and 2023, Dutch banks alone provided these three world leaders in meat exports with $138.7 million in funds, with Rabobank holding the largest share at 60%.

An important lobbying channel for these 18 core players is the Agribusiness Parliamentary Front: a powerful, cross-party group of parliamentarians that unites almost two-thirds of the Brazilian Congress. Their considerable influence is evident from, among other instances, a recent defeat of President Lula. In Brazil there exists a bill to protect large agribusiness landowners despite when those lands have been acquired illegally. Last October, Lula vetoed this, but his veto was then overridden by a 2/3 majority in Congress orchestrated by the FPA. More than a million indigenous communities could now lose their claim to their own land. This is not a one-time event. The report elaborates on several examples that point to the structural and consistent enforcement of laws and measures that are disastrous for the protection of the environment and human rights.

Lobbying directly contradicts environmental and social policies

The lobbying efforts of meat giants are at odds with the environmental and social standards upheld by the three Dutch banks. For instance, Rabobank requires that voluntary, prior and informed consent is obtained from those involved in major projects. At the same time, however, we see that major traders in agricultural products are lobbying the Brazilian government through the FPA to expedite the construction of the Ferrogrão railway, traversing the territories of six indigenous peoples. This undermines the right to voluntary, prior, and informed consent. Consequently, Rabobank is financing practices that diverge from its own standards.

Stricter standards for lobbying activities needed

The Fair Bank Guide calls on the banks involved to establish policies that require that their customers' lobbying practices align with the bank's environmental and social standards. The banks, and in particular Rabobank, should promptly engage in discussions with business customers attempting to weaken or undermine legislation regarding deforestation, environmental pollution, land rights, and human rights in Brazil. In addition, the Fair Bank Guide calls on banks to offer greater transparency into the lobbying processes in which their customers are engaged, even if these activities are conducted through business associations or so-called think tanks.

Read the full report here.



Note for Editors

For more information or an interview with Julia Bakker, Livestock Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection and spokesperson for the Fair Bank Guide, please contact: or via 06-43055943.

• The Fair Bank Guide is part of the Fair Finance Guide, a partnership between World Animal Protection, Amnesty International, Milieudefensie, Oxfam Novib and PAX.

• The research was carried out by Olho de Ruralistas.

• At, consumers can compare the scores of banks, insurers and pension funds for their investment policy and practice. They can also take action, for example by sending a complaint or compliment.