Foreign pension funds and land grabbing in Brazil
A New York company managing the retirement savings of workers in Sweden, the US and Canada is evading Brazilian laws on foreign investment to acquire farmlands from a businessman accused of violently displacing local communities
(With support from the National Family Farm Coalition, the United Church of Canada, Comissão Pastoral da Terra, Land Research Action Network, Public Service Alliance of Canada – Social Justice Fund, Presbyterian Church of the US, United Steelworkers – Steelworkers Humanity Fund, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Relações Internacionais da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, A4ID and Development and Peace)
Indigenous communities displaced from their land by the expansion of agribusiness in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. (Photo: Cristiano Navarro)
Swedish, US and Canadian pension funds have acquired farmlands in Brazil by way of a Brazilian businessman accused of using violence and fraud to displace small farmers. These pension funds are also using complex company structures that have the effect of evading Brazilian laws restricting foreign investments in farmland.
The pension funds have been investing in Brazil through a global farmland fund called TIAA-CREF Global Agriculture LLC (TCGA). The fund is managed by the US-based Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF). Those investing in the fund include TIAA-CREF, the Second Swedish National Pension Fund (AP2) and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDP) and the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) of Canada.