Open letter to Tesco – “drop forest destroyers now”


Dear Ken Murphy, 

You may have read earlier this week the Independent’s investigation revealing that global meat companies are “routinely underreporting emissions, undermining climate science and casting doubt on plant-based alternatives”. 

This comes just days after research published in Nature confirmed that the Brazilian Amazon has now reached a tipping point and is emitting more carbon than it stores as a result of human intervention. 

Most of the emissions are due to deforestation and fires set deliberately to clear land for beef production and one of the companies at the heart of this destruction and deception is Brazilian meat packer JBS. 

Although Tesco does not buy Brazilian beef, you do buy chicken and pork from JBS-owned companies Moy Park and Pilgrim’s Pride. 

Until now, you have steadfastly refused to drop JBS and its subsidiaries from your supply chain, preferring to ‘work with’ the company and attempt to hold it to account as a customer. But your strategy is flawed and failing. 

As you know, a suite of dangerous land regulation bills is being pushed through by the Bolsonaro government. According to Brazilian NGO Imazon, if passed these bills would put at least 19.6 million hectares of public land in the Amazon at risk and could cause a further 1.6m hectares of deforestation by 2027. 1.43 billion tonnes of CO2 could be released into the atmosphere – five times the annual emissions of a country like France. 

Indigenous Peoples’ rights would also be fatally undermined with thousands being forced to flee land and forests owned and protected by their families for generations. 

JBS – which recently gave itself until 2035 to stop sourcing cattle from deforestation as part of its ‘2040 net zero’ commitment – has said nothing to condemn the proposals. JBS’ silence on one of the most profound threats to the Amazon rainforest speaks volumes. 

In fact, JBS is actively supporting producers that are deforesting and using fire to clear the Amazon as well as other important Brazilian habitats like the Pantanal wetlands. And the company’s net zero commitment makes clear its shocking complacency on critical issues:  

  • JBS will accept and thus condone deforestation in its supply chain for another 14 years. 
  • JBS has stated it has no immediate intention of suspending suppliers using fires to clear land or violating its policies.
  • JBS is yet to even acknowledge the fundamental shift needed in its business model – away from industrial livestock production – to restore biodiversity and protect the climate.

You recently signed a letter to the Brazilian Congress expressing Tesco’s concerns about the Brazilian government’s proposed legislation, pledging to “reconsider our support and use of the Brazilian agricultural commodity supply chain” should it pass. However, your signature means very little while you are still buying from companies that stand to directly profit from this dangerous legislation and whose policies are also woefully inadequate. 

We urge you again as the UK’s largest supermarket and biggest seller of industrially produced meat to lead the way. Stop funding Amazon destruction by dropping JBS and its subsidiaries from your supply chain now. 

Your sincerely,

John Sauven
Executive Director
Greenpeace UK

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