Indigenous leader demands Tesco drop forest destroyers in video appeal at supermarket’s HQ


Download Sônia Guajajara’s full video appeal plus images of today’s peaceful direct action here:

This morning, activists delivered a powerful video appeal from the heart of the Amazon to the doorstep of Tesco’s HQ in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. 

In the film, now playing on a giant screen as staff and visitors enter the building, Sônia Guajajara, Executive Coordinator of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), speaks directly to Tesco. She talks about the devastation that fires – reported to be the worst for 10 years – and forest destruction are causing to Indigenous People and the environment and asks Tesco: “Which side are you on?”

Sônia Guajajara is also leader of the Guajajara People, one of Brazil’s most numerous Indigenous Peoples, who live in 11 Indigenous Lands at the eastern margin of the Amazon region. [1]

Greenpeace activists delivered the film and have rebranded the building’s entrance with banners above and beside the doors reading ‘Tesco – industrial meat destroys forests’. They have also placed a 13-metre walkway leading to the office doors that features the chain of destruction Tesco is part of. The walkway, which staff must cross as they approach the doors, begins with an image of pristine forest then moves to forest fires, soya plantations, animal feed and finally the chicken packed onto Tesco’s shelves. 


In her message, Sônia Guajajara said:

“Tesco, do you know the impact your business is causing for the Indigenous People and the environment here in Brazil? 

“The Amazon is burning, the environment is at risk. We need to think about the impact meat consumption has on Indigenous territories and across humanity.

“We want to know if you are willing to fulfil your promise and end business with environmental destroyers and those violating the rights of the Indigenous People.

“Bolsonaro’s government is leading a genocide and a completely destructive agenda. If you support Bolsonaro, you are complicit with this genocide. Which side are you on?”


Tesco buys chicken and pork from two UK companies, Moy Park and Tulip, which are controlled by JBS – one of the world’s most notorious forest destroyers [2]. It also sells more meat than any other UK supermarket [3] making its soya footprint the largest in the UK – by its own admission 99% of the soya in its supply chain is used as feed to produce meat and dairy. 

Tesco promised to end its part in deforestation for commodities like soya by 2020 but in 2018 it quietly changed that goal to 2025 and still has no idea where the soya in its meat and dairy supply chain comes from. Right now, just 1% of Tesco’s soya is certified deforestation-free. Rather than ensuring the soya it uses is not linked to deforestation, it uses an online calculator to estimate the amount of soya it has used, then buys the equivalent amount of credits to offset it. [4]


Elena Polisano, Greenpeace UK forests campaigner, said: 

“Sônia Guajajara’s message to Tesco comes directly from the heart of the Amazon. The Guajajara people and many other Indigenous Peoples across Brazil have suffered huge losses of their land and their lives due to deforestation for beef farms and soya plantations. 

“Tesco cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the chain of destruction they are part of. They cannot claim innocence while continuing to buy from companies controlled by Amazon destroyers. They cannot sell vast quantities of industrial meat fed on soya while claiming they’re doing everything they can to stop deforestation.

“So far, Tesco have responded to our calls by pushing responsibility to the government to introduce deforestation legislation. While legislation is important, we urgently need governments and industry to lead a complete shift away from a food system that relies on the destruction of nature to one that works with nature.

“Our health, the stability of the climate and the future of the world’s forests depend on us eating less meat and dairy. By eating mostly plant based food, we could feed more people with all the calories and nutrition needed for a healthy diet without destroying forests.”


Read more about Tesco’s misleading claims in our blog ‘Tesco’s deforestation claims are misleading the public’.

Greenpeace UK’s petition calling on Tesco to stop buying from companies owned by forest destroyers and replace half the meat it sells with plant-based food by 2025 has more than 165,000 signatures.




Notes to editors

[1] More about the Guajajara People:

[2] The world’s biggest meat packer JBS controls UK companies Tulip and Moy Park that churn out masses of soya-reared pork and chicken to supply big food retail brands. One of their biggest customers is Tesco. See still Slaughtering the Amazon report:

[3] Tesco sells 362,486 tonnes of meat per year. See page 15 of Greenpeace Winging It report, published January 2020, for details on other retailers:

[4] Through global initiatives such as the New York Declaration on Forests or as members of the Consumer Goods Forum or Tropical Forest Alliance, companies and governments have pledged to end deforestation for agricultural commodities such as soya by 2020. Yet Tesco, which has repeatedly stressed its commitment to this goal, stated in 2018 that it will not ‘transition to sourcing [soya] from verified zero deforestation areas’ until 2025 – a significant and unacceptable delay. Worse, the company has consistently failed to explain how this will be achieved:

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