Chile

Recent updates about Harvard in Chile.

Agrícola Brinzal is a Chilean logging company, owned 99.99 percent by Harvard. Last year, Agricola Brinzal was found guilty in a lawsuit brought by the Chilean government for felling 189 acres of native forest and then reforesting with foreign tree species. The corporation’s practices, which include growing water-intensive eucalyptus trees, have also been accused of harming both the environment and nearby communities.

According to a recent university tax filing from 2011, Agrícola Brinzal generated more than half a million dollars in income for our endowment. 

The scale of Agrícola Brinzal’s logging is unprecedented on the island of Chiloé. Harvard’s company has either bought up recently clear-cut land or engaged in the felling of native trees itself, and reforested that land with eucalyptus trees. The lawsuits against Agricola Brinzal stated that the company’s logging practices are both illegal and environmentally devastating, wreaking irreversible havoc on Chile’s prized natural forests.

 

Furthermore, locals have maintained that the company’s actions have been detrimental to local communities. Carlos Muñoz Grandón, president of an organization of residents living near land owned by Agrícola Brinzal, was quoted in the report stating that the company’s reforestation negatively affects local farmers: “It’s a great impact—it’s a huge one—from the fumigations to the growth of eucalyptus, because we will have huge problems with water distribution…That’s going to affect animal and milk production, which is the economic source for people here.”

 

Updates:

letter dated August 6 from President Faust to the Coalition shows how out of touch the Harvard administration is with its investments. Faust wrote that the University was “confident” the courts would find that , Agricola Brinzal, “has acted in compliance with the law.” In reality, the company had already been found guilty in court for violating its environmental commitments.

Further resources:

Forestry Monitoring Report, Agricola Brinzal

Center of Investigative Journalism of Chile report on the exploitative logging practices of Chilean companies owned by Harvard, and the English version.

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