Angela Martins is part of the Guarani-Kaiowá Indigenous group who are recognised as the rightful occupants of the Jatayvary land in Ponta Porã ,Mato Grosso do Sul state, Brazil. Large-scale farmers cashing in on Brazil’s sugar and soy boom have resisted the process of land return to Angela’s community. Angela’s son, Robson Duarte, 22, adds: “If we had our land, we would be more comfortable, relaxed, without threats, we would be secure and safe … Many of us don’t have jobs. We live off hunting, trap animals, that’s how we live. The farmers threaten us with violence.”
A mill partly, and then fully, owned by agribusiness company Bunge from 2008-2014 exacerbated the land conflict by sourcing sugarcane from five farms on Jatayvary land. Banking on Shaky Ground revealed that CBA managed $14 million in shares in Bunge. This report reveals that, not only CBA, but all of Australia’s big four banks have backed the company. These are links that Westpac, NAB and ANZ have not previously reported on. Angela and Robson’s community still cannot return to their land, their local waters are polluted and they experience food shortages.
In 2014 Oxfam disclosed that CBA was managing millions of dollars in shareholdings with Bunge. Since then CBA states that it has spoken to the company about the issue and is satisfied with its response. However CBA has never consulted with affected communities and Oxfam is calling for Bunge, and its investors, to support redress for its role in exacerbating the local land conflict from 2008-2014.
In 2011, palm oil company PT SIL acquired a contested land lease to 2,812 hectares in Seluma province, Indonesia. Since then it’s been exerting pressure on local people to leave their land in order to develop its plantation. Community members report the destruction of local palm oil, rubber and vegetable plots and threats of violence.
PT SIL is a supplier to global palm oil company Wilmar – which has financing links to National Australia Bank, CBA and Westpac.
CBA have not reported their connection to the company in their annual reporting – despite well-publicised allegations of the company’s connection to land deals that do not have the free, prior and informed consent of local communities and which frequently involve violence and threats