In response to JBS’s announcement to plan to address illegal deforestation by 2030, eliminate deforestation by 2035 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, Daniela Montalto, forest and food campaigner at Greenpeace UK said:
“For the sake of its profit margins, JBS continues to sacrifice the climate, biodiversity and law compliance. Its new announcement couldn’t be more clear: JBS will continue to fuel deforestation in the Amazon and beyond for at least another 14 years, and the climate crisis well after that. At this point any company – bank, supermarket or otherwise – that continues to trade with or invest in JBS will be making a mockery of sustainability commitments. What is more, they will be knowingly complicit in fuelling the environmental catastrophe that threatens our planet.”
The company’s statement makes no commitment to tackle the fundamental source of its carbon footprint – the production of meat. The announcement is a major step backward from a pledge originally made in 2009 to deliver zero deforestation across the entire Amazon supply base by 2011 demonstrated by full transparency. The current announcement only addresses illegal deforestation in Brazil by 2030, and other deforestation not until 2035. A ban on deliberate use of fire, legal or otherwise, is not even mentioned.
Even amid the chaos and economic upheaval caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic, as Brazilian President Bolsonaro’s anti-environment agenda continues to wreak havoc on the Amazon,  Brazil’s beef exports set a new all-time high in 2020.
Earlier this month, Greenpeace International published an investigation exposing the world’s largest meat processor JBS and its leading competitors Marfrig and Minerva, slaughtering cattle purchased from ranchers linked to the 2020 fires that destroyed one-third of the world’s largest inland wetland in the Pantanal region of Brazil.
“With the 2021 dry season and a likely new fires crisis fast approaching, JBS is all but handing out the matches. By continuing to profit from destruction it is effectively kneecapping global efforts to stop the collapse of the Amazon and other biomes. The industrial beef sector is a liability. Importing countries, financiers and global meat buyers including McDonald’s, Burger King or French groups Carrefour and Casino must end their complicity in this unfolding catastrophe.”
In the UK, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and M&S fund JBS’ activities by buying meat from the company’s UK subsidiaries Moy Park and Pilgrim’s Pride.
“Anything less than immediately dropping these suppliers suggests Tesco and co are happy to accept deforestation in their supply chain for at least another 14 years,” said Montalto.
“Governments, finance and consumer companies must shift away from industrial meat and close markets to companies contributing to forest and ecosystem destruction and transition to a food system that isn’t a driving force of deforestation, climate change and future pandemic risk.”
2 – The so called ‘Destruction package’ currently on the agenda of the Brazilian National Congress and ordered by President Bolsonaro’s executive office, is composed of legislative proposals on the following issues: mining in indigenous lands (Bill No. 191/2020, proposed by the House of Representatives); environmental licensing (Bill No. 3729/2004 and addendums, currently in the House of Representatives, and Senate Bill No. 168/2018); and land tenure regularization (Bill No. 2633/2020 in the House of Representatives, and Bill No. 510/2021 in the Federal Senate). Brazilian Civil Society signed on to a letter opposing the initiatives. The letter published in March 2021 is available here: