About the Stop Land Grabs Campaign
We are a coalition of environmental organizations, human rights organizations, farmers organizations, unions, and individual university professors. We are demanding that financial companies GET OUT of forests and farmland. Pensions should not be investing in plantations.
Social, economic, and ecological crises are intensifying due to the expansion of corporate, industrial agribusiness. Brazilian forests are being razed and burned to make way for cattle ranching and soybean plantations. Family farmers in the United States are on the verge of disappearing in the midst of the biggest farm crisis in a generation while mammoth corporations make even more profit, and indigenous people, people of color, and women are facing more and more difficult holding onto land and feeding their families. Hunger, poverty, and diet-related disease are increasing around the world, reaching over 2 billion people.
Meanwhile, pension funds - which are supposed to manage workers’ savings in order to provide for the future and which are the largest players in the financial industry with almost $40 trillion in global pensions and almost $30 trillion in the US alone - are putting more and more money into these destructive agribusiness ventures. They are buying farmland at an alarming rate, hoping to profit off its scarcity as the climate and hunger crises worsen, and they are buying stock in other agri-commodity companies, claiming that they are just acting in the interest of their clients, as these companies deforest the rainforest and make climate chaos inevitable.
A New Wave of Land Grabbing
In the aftermath of the financial crises of 2007 and 2008, endowments, pension funds, and other institutional investors started to acquire farmland. In the past decade, millions of acres of land have been bought up, and that number is continuing to grow as new investment companies, from state pension funds to massive hedge funds, consider farmland.
These land grabs are displacing communities across the globe, exacerbating land access issues for Black farmers and new and beginning farmers in the US, devastating ecosystems, and driving the climate crisis. Colleges and universities are major investors through their endowments and pension funds -- and are also places where we have the power to expose and challenge these destructive land grabs.