Germany is one of the world's most important meat producers and therefore largely relies on soy, which is used as feed for chicken, pigs, cattle, or dairy cows. Most of it is imported from abroad, mainly from the Amazon region. Far away from consumers' plates, the cheapest possible feed production systems cause ecosystems to be burned to the ground and local populations to be displaced. Even knowing this, European companies purchased significantly more Brazilian soy in 2020 than the year before.
For years it has been evident that European and German feed and meat producers use soy for which Amazon forests were illegally cleared. A country that has committed to complying with the Paris Climate Agreement is thus destroying one of the world's largest carbon sinks and driving the Earth's temperature to rise further. Agricultural companies, feed producers, and institutions such as the German Pet Food Association promise supply chains free of illegal deforestation, but refuse to disclose the details of said supply chains.
Led by journalist Maria Mast, a team of investigative reporters and data experts of Die Zeit and Zeit Online will trace the supply routes, pinpoint which players lobby in which arenas, and show what has been concealed in order to sustain a global system of exploitation. Mast and team will meet farmers, shippers, environmental activists, and lobbyists on both sides of the Atlantic, in Brazil and Europe, who are part of a global system that feeds many as cheaply as possible — at the expense of the planet's future.