Brazilian food giant reports progress in pledge to preserve Amazon

By Helen Arnold

- Last updated on GMT

JBS has developed a daily monitoring system for its cattle suppliers
JBS has developed a daily monitoring system for its cattle suppliers
Brazilian food processing giant JBS, which has publicly pledged not to purchase cattle from ranches responsible for deforestation inside the Amazon Biome region, has reported that of 12,221 sales in 2014, only four were from non-conforming farms, according to its annual independent audit.

“We are very happy with the results of the audit. It shows that our suppliers monitoring system presented a 99.97% level of assertiveness last year within a massive universe of procurement operations,”​ said Márcio Nappo, JBS’ sustainability director.

“This figure is also an improvement on the previous year, when the 2013 cattle procurement audit presented 99.75% efficiency.”

The pledge from JBS came in the wake of a 2009 Greenpeace report, ‘Slaughtering the Amazon’, which highlighted the relationship between the processing companies and their beef suppliers involved with forest clearance and slave labour. Processing companies Marfrig and Minerva also made a similar pledge, and have recently published independent audits, alongside JBS, reporting that progress has been made in their zero deforestation commitments.

JBS has also updated its Working Plan, which sets out its actions and strategies in regards to comply with its public commitment on “Minimum Criteria for Industrial-Scale Cattle Operations in the Brazilian Amazon Biome”.

The company has developed a system for the daily social and environmental monitoring of cattle suppliers, to ensure its raw materials are sourced from responsible suppliers. The systems involves the geospatial monitoring of suppliers’ properties, and a crosscheck of the registration data from the company’s cattle suppliers with information from public lists of areas embargoed by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) for illegal deforestation – and employers who used work practices that are degrading or analog to slavery, according the Ministry of Labor.

Adriana Charoux, Amazon Forest campaigner at Greenpeace Brazil, said: “The audits published prove Brazil’s leading slaughterhouses can help keep Amazon destruction off the menu globally.”​ She added that their publication was also a fundamental step towards increasing transparency and social control over cattle production in the Brazilian Amazon.

Cattle production is still a major driver of deforestation in the region, and Greenpeace is calling key organisations to do more.

“It’s time for all large Brazilian slaughterhouses and supermarkets to follow suit and commit to zero deforestation. The members of the Brazilian Beef Associations (ABIEC and ABRAFRIGO) and the Brazilian Association of Supermarkets (ABRAS) must eliminate deforestation from their supply chains, anything less is unacceptable,”​ said Charoux.

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