TIAA-CREF, U.S. investment giant, accused of land grabs in Brazil

by Simon Romero

A farm in Mato Grosso State in the cerrado, the vast savanna on the edge of the Amazon rain forest that is being razed for agricultural expansion. Photo: Marizilda Cruppe for The New York Times

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — As an American investment giant that manages the retirement savings of millions of university administrators, public school teachers and others, TIAA-CREF prides itself on upholding socially responsible values, even celebrating its role in drafting United Nations principles for buying farmland that promote transparency, environmental sustainability and respect for land rights.