Cattle industry giant takes lead in ending Amazon destruction following Greenpeace exposé

Press release - 23 June, 2009
The world's fourth largest beef trader, Marfrig, announced a moratorium last night on buying cattle from farms that deforest the Amazon from now on.

The move by Marfrig(1) comes in the wake of the release of an investigative Greenpeace report 'Slaughtering the Amazon', which threw international spotlight on Marfrig, Bertin, JBS and other leading cattle companies for driving Amazon deforestation and climate change.

"This initiative is an important step towards halting Amazonian destruction and the related greenhouse gases emissions," said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon campaign director.

The Governor of the Brazilian Amazon state of Mato Grosso, Blairo Maggi, is supporting Marfrig's implementation of the moratorium by pushing farmers to map their properties. Satellite data of the forest cover will be made publicly available so that companies can identify farms engaged in ongoing deforestation and stop buying cattle products from them.

"In the absence of leadership from President Lula, Marfrig and Governor Maggi have taken their own steps towards ending deforestation and pushing for climate solutions.  The President and the rest of the cattle industry must now follow their example," said Adario.

Mato Grosso state has the largest cattle herd in Brazil and has been more affected by deforestation than any other area of the Amazon to date.

Tropical rainforest destruction accounts for approximately 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, making Brazil the world's fourth biggest climate polluter.  Any effective deal to save the climate must include measures to protect forests.

Greenpeace is calling on President Lula and all other Heads of State to take personal responsibility for solving the climate crisis, including agreeing to attend the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December and guaranteeing that a climate saving deal will be reached.

Other contacts: Paulo Adario, Amazon Campaign director (currently in Amsterdam)

Judy Rodrigues, Greenpeace International Amazon campaigner (Amsterdam)

Caroline Donatti, Greenpeace Brazil Communications
+559240098005 or +559281144497

Notes: (1) According to a telephone conversation between Greenpeace Brazil and the Governor of Mato Grosso, Blairo Maggi, Marfrig's commitment was inspired by the soya moratorium on Amazon deforestation initiated by Greenpeace on 24 July 2006. Governor Maggi is one of the biggest soya producers in the world.