On the latest study tour to Bahia, NGP’s Andrew Heald sees how things have changed since his first visit

I first visited Bahia in Brazil on an NGP study tour in 2008. Back then, most of the delegates came from large pulp and paper companies and major environmental NGOs. There were discussions of tense relationships with local communities, which had led to direct action against some of the companies involved.

How things have changed. Our latest study tour, organized with FASB, involved a diverse range of participants all on the same page. Pulp and paper company Veracel flew the flag of the Landless Workers’ Movement, MST. Members of the Pataxó nation led us in prayer. As Neuza, a member of the FASB team, put it: “We all came together with a common purpose, to support communities in restoring the Atlantic Rainforest. We weren’t here just to have dialogue or to resolve conflicts, but to work together for a common goal.”