JBS S.A., the world’s largest protein processor, has agreed to stop buying beef from ranches associated with slave labor and illegal deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, according to the public prosecutor’s office in the state of Acre in Brazil.
The agreement absolves JBS from a potential $1.3 billion in fines and allows the firm to continue selling meat to companies concerned about their environmental reputation.
Under the terms of the agreement, JBS will stop buying cattle from areas embargoed by environmental inspection agencies and lands classified as conservation units or indigenous territories, unless the management plans of those areas allow for livestock. JBS will also not buy cattle from ranches that have been convicted of labor abuses, including slave labor.
From September 2012, JBS will only buy meat from ranches that have registered their holdings with the government and have the proper environmental licenses. Any breach of the agreement could result in fines up to $300 per pound.
JBS has 140 production facilities worldwide and over 120,000 employees. JBS has production and processing plants in Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Australia, USA, Uruguay, Paraguay, Mexico, China and Russia.