Rabobank and the Deforesters

In an in-depth research article by Repórter Brasil and Financieel Dagblad exposed that Rabobank has financed hundreds of farmers that are linked to deforestation.
The article mentions that, according to Rabobank’s policies, the bank won’t finance clients that have been involved in illegal deforestation after 2005. But, the article shows how one of Rabobank’s clients (who was even showcased in one of the bank’s promotion videos on sustainability), was embargoed for illegal deforestation in 2020. Despite that, the bank increased a credit line to the farmer afterwards.

The researchers also crossed a database of loans provided by the Rabobank (with funds from BNDES), with the database of embargoed areas. They found that 326 farmers were able to obtain credit from Rabobank despite the embargoes. In addition, 39 farmers were embargoed for illegal deforestation after receiving credit from Rabobank, but the loan was not cancelled. Together, these farmers were responsible for 84,000 ha of deforestation.


In a response, Rabobank states that it indeed has clients in its portfolio who are affected by one or more Ibama embargoes related to deforestation. But unlike Ibama itself, the bank states that an embargo by the environmental authority is not a punishment, but only a suspicion.

However, Ibama states to the FD that an embargo is an administrative sanction that the environmental authority only imposes after it has identified an environmental violation and has collected evidence of illegal actions.

In response to questions from the FD, BNDES asked Rabobank for clarification. The development bank did not address the question of whether Rabobank’s loans conflict with BNDES policy.

The Banco Central do Brasil, charged with supervising banks, announced that it is prohibited in Brazil to finance activities on embargoed lands in the Amazon region.

Read the full article and the detailed responses here: