Amsterdam, June 14, 2012 – Brazilian beef and leather company JBS, caught red handed for its links to Amazon destruction, has launched legal action against Greenpeace Brazil, trying to challenge minor details rather than ending deforestation.
In a June 6 report, Greenpeace International released a scorecard revealing how JBS cannot guarantee that its supply chain is free of cattle raised on farms with recent Amazon deforestation, involved in slave labor or invasion of conservation areas.
But instead of taking responsibility for its actions, cleaning up its supply chain and eliminating deforestation, JBS has decided to try and eliminate criticism by launching legal action to prevent circulation of the report.
“This demonstrates again that JBS is not serious about living up to its commitments and its main objective is to present a green image to the outside world,” said Femke Bartels, Greenpeace International Forest Director.
“Our campaign will not be silenced. We are calling on JBS to immediately end all relationships with farms that have proven links to Amazon destruction.”
JBS’ response, taken together with the failure of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to fully veto a new and destructive Forest Code last month, shows just how much the Amazon is still at threat despite years of struggle to protect it.
Adopted just weeks ahead of the Rio+20 Earth Summit, the new Forest Code law offers amnesty to forest criminals and reopens the Amazon for destruction and is an ugly blight on Brazil’s until now admirable efforts to combine development with sustainability.
Nearly 80% of Brazilians opposed the harmful Forest Code changes and citizens from Brazil and around the world called on Rousseff to entirely veto the law and commit to achieve Zero Deforestation in the Amazon by 2015. She did neither.
Brazil, which is emerging as a new economic and political power, has until recently been praised for its environmental achievements.
The nation has the right credentials to push for global policy change, but its reputation is now at threat, even as it hosts the Rio+20 gathering of world leaders aimed at discussing sustainable development.
JBS, likewise, has a responsibility and the ability to lead the industry, and consumers want to see the company dealing with its problems rather than its critics. This strategy of taking legal action will backfire and Greenpeace will redouble its campaign.
Contrary to JBS' statement, neither Greenpeace International nor Greenpeace Brazil has acknowledged any serious errors in the report.
An interim court order issued in Brazil against the report was issued without Greenpeace Brazil being heard. Contrary to assertions by JBS, the court made no finding on the contents of the report and the injunction is a temporary measure until arguments can be presented. Greenpeace International has full confidence the court will dismiss the case after reviewing the evidence. Greenpeace Brazil is currently precluded from communicating on the issue by the injunction but will file its public response in court on Monday.
The report was published by Greenpeace International in the Netherlands and republished by Greenpeace Brazil with permission. Greenpeace International stands by the report and it will remain available on the Greenpeace International website.
Based on JBS' comments, a few minor mistakes were identified, promptly acknowledged and have been corrected. These in no way affect the conclusion that JBS has failed to live up to its commitments.
Indeed, substantial parts of the report are not disputed by JBS. Even the undisputed facts are enough to conclude that JBS is in serious breach of commitments.
Aaron Gray-Block, Greenpeace International Media Relations: +31 6 4616 2026
Greenpeace International Press hotline: +31 207 182 470