As far as we know, meatpacker JBS hasn’t processed any whale meat lately, but the environmental group Greenpeace is attacking them over destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. According to Greenpeace, the Brazil-based packing company continues to slaughter cattle from operations that illegally clear rainforest for beef production, in spite of an earlier pledge not to do so.
In 2009, under pressure from Greenpeace and retail customers, JBS agreed, along with Brazilian meat companies Marfrig and Minerva, to stop purchasing cattle from farms linked to deforestation. Much of the pressure originated from a Greenpeace report titled “Slaughtering the Amazon,” which singled out beef cattle as the principle cause of rainforest destruction. The group used the report to convince customers of Brazilian beef packers such as supermarket chains and leather-goods manufacturers to pressure the companies to commit to a “zero deforestation” agreement.
According to Greenpeace, JBS agreed to implement a traceability system that would allow them to identify and blacklist farms that continued to clear forests for beef production. In 2010, the three meat packers requested more time to develop the required mapping system, according to a Greenpeace news release.
In its new JBS Scorecard report, Greenpeace claims that investigations over the past 18 months show JBS has continued to purchase cattle from five farms that illegally clear rainforest. The report also claims JBS purchases cattle from several farms that illegally occupy Indigenous lands and from farms accused of using slave labor.
Returning to tried-and-true tactics, Greenpeace has taken the report directly to companies that purchase beef or leather from JBS, particularly in Europe. The organization says it has traced the supply of beef linked to Amazon destruction to supermarkets and wholesalers in Europe and Brazil. “We informed these companies about the environmental crimes committed by their supplier JBS, but some have failed to face up to their responsibilities and stop buying beef from JBS,” Greenpeace states in a news release. According to a Fox Business News article, seven of JBS's leather and beef customers--including German clothing maker Adidas AG, Swedish furniture chain IKEA International A/S, and U.K. supermarket chains J Sainsbury PLC and Asda Group Ltd.--canceled their business with JBS in response to the new report.
According to news stories late Wednesday, JBS has denied the accusations in the Greenpeace report and announced plans to take legal action against the organization over damage to its business and reputation.
Read the JBS Scorecard report from Greenpeace.