Brazil’s National Environmental Compensation Fund was launched Thursday, March 16, by the Brazilian Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva, in an agreement between the Ministry, the IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) and Caixa Econômica Federal (Federal Savings Bank).
Companies that cause harm to the environment in the course of executing their projects can make recompense by depositing money in a fund in the Caixa Econômica Federal. The fund will be used for the creation, maintenance and implementation of parks, reserves, and ecological stations.
The Minister said that the agreement will give transparency, efficiency, and agility to fulfilling this type of legal obligation.
Up to now the companies themselves have been administering the application of these resources in Conservation Units, based on amounts fixed by the IBAMA in accordance with the extent of damage caused and never less than 0.5% of the total investment in the project.
Silva explained that payment of the compensation is mandatory, although adhesion to the fund is voluntary. The IBAMA received US$ 142.4 million (300 million reais) last year in compensation commitments by companies and is currently in the process of trying to collect another 40% of this value.
According to the Minister, some of the funds will also be used to expedite processes of land regularization. She recalled that one of the obstacles to the creation of Conservation Units is the matter of indemnifying individuals who possess property in these areas.
The fund, she went to say, is destined for units chosen in accordance with the IBAMA’s criteria: Properties with all their legal documents in order will receive priority, and those with pending legal questions will not be included in this process.
The Minister also pointed out that the companies that adhere to the National Environmental Compensation Fund will be benefited, because, "when the law is respected, and these resources are destined for environmental protection, the company is associating its image with the preserved areas."