APEAM: Environmental Complaint and USMCA
A Mexican citizen questioned the environmental actions of the Association of Avocado Producers and Packers (APEAM) in avocado production.
This citizen, who remains anonymous, filed a petition before the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) of the Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada (USMCA) to sanction regional avocado exports for not taking care of the environment.
According to the Petitioner, point 24.13 of the USMCA refers to social responsibility and environmentally responsible business conduct.
“In this sense, APEAM intends to engage in greenwashing. Thus, APEAM says that it promotes environmentally responsible business conduct by carrying out reforestation actions,” argued the Petitioner.
Its web page (https://www.apeamac.com/) gives an account of some reforestation actions and points out – for example – that in 2020 they reforested 383 hectares.
Undoubtedly valuable -questioned the Petitioner-, but if we consider -as assured by the local Secretary of Environment- that 60,000 hectares are deforested per year, then only 0.5% of the affected area is being reforested. This is practically irrelevant.
APEAN also states that its members adhere to the Agenda 2030 commitments and have even issued a report (COE, Communication on Engagement).
However, the Petitioner argues that it is well known that the 2030 Agenda contains general principles of goodwill and does not go so far as to establish concrete, measurable or evaluable commitments or goals, as required for avocado production in Michoacán.
Somewhere else on the APEAM website it is noted that they comply with 11 certifications (surely some producers with some and others with others); however, none of the certifications have to do with principles of environmental protection and preservation.
The producers also point out some actions of social responsibility by sponsoring some schools.
This is undoubtedly a valuable action, even though it has a very relative impact, since it supports 11 schools out of the more than 6,000 that exist in the state.
APEAM’s actions may be of “good will” or of “market strategy”, but in any case it is evident that they are very marginal and insufficient in view of the magnitude of the universe and the environmental damage that is being caused, added the Petitioner.
UNAM researchers maintain that deforestation rates in Michoacán to plant avocados are among the highest in Mexico and Latin America.