JBS commits to Amazon deforestation moratorium

Brazilian beef giant JBS has agreed to stop sourcing cattle from farms responsible for deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

Following months of pressure from environmental campaign group Greenpeace, JBS has finally followed rivals Bertin and Marfrig in adopting moratorium on the purchase of cattle from suppliers linked to illegal deforestation.

The processor has also pledged to reject cattle from farms occupying indigenous lands and protected areas.

A spokesperson for JBS said that the company has always given “special attention” to social and environmental matters, adding that protection of the environment is “fundamental” to JBS.

“Pursuant to these principles JBS has agreed to make a commitment with Greenpeace with respect to the basic
criteria to be followed in its operations in the Amazon biome,” he added.

“These criteria includes the adoption of the Zero Deforestation in the Amazon within the entire supply chain and the rejection of products originating from properties involved in the occupation of indigenous land and protected areas.

“The company also agrees that cattle and beef products can only be sourced from ranches or rural properties that are committed to the adoption of a reliable production traceability system.”

The commitment has been welcomed by Greenpeace, which released a report in June claiming that Bertin, JBS and Marfrig were “knowingly” buying beef from farms engaged in illegal deforestation and laundering them through the supply chain to an “unwitting” global market.

Greenpeace forests campaigner Sara Shokara said: “This announcement is a big step forward in the battle to save the Amazon. The expansion of cattle ranches into the rainforest was becoming a massive problem for local people, biodiversity and the global climate. Huge swathes of pristine forest were being destroyed to make way for pasture.

“This move, by the world’s largest beef producer and exporter, sends a strong signal to farmers that deforestation will no longer lead to quick profit. The potential benefits of this are immense, but we need to keep the pressure on JBS and the other companies to make sure this is permanent.”

Greenpeace wants Brazil’s entire cattle sector to commit to a moratorium on expansion into newly deforested areas and has called on both federal and state governments to ensure this is possible by mapping, registering and monitoring rural properties.

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