World’s Largest Meat Exporter Commits to Zero Deforestation in Amazon

JBS-Friboi announcement follows Greenpeace campaign

Media release - September 25, 2009
JBS-Friboi, the world’s largest exporter of meat products and one of the largest companies in Brazil, announced today that it will no longer buy cattle raised in areas of the Amazon that were deforested after Sept. 23, 2009. They also announced that they will remove from its suppliers’ lists any farms in the region involved with slave labor or caught raising cattle on Indigenous Lands or Protected Areas.

“This is good news for the Amazon and the global climate. By the sheer force of its size, the commitment of JBS-Friboi to stop destroying the Amazon will help reduce the pressure that the cattle sector has been exerting on the forest. It will also force thousands of its suppliers in the Northern region of Brazil to strictly follow the environmental and land tenure legislation, and to respect the biodiversity and the rights of the indigenous people in the region,” said Marcio Astrini, Greenpeace Amazon.

The decision by JBS-Friboi includes an obligation to implement a traceability system within six months, based on maps from its cattle suppliers in the Amazon. Once the system is in place, the company will use it to exclude from its direct supply chain any farm involved with deforestation in the Amazon after September 23rd, 2009. Within two years, JBS-Friboi will extend the same monitoring system to its indirect suppliers, farms that sell young cattle to ranchers that directly feed the meat processing plants.

Pressure came as a direct result of the release, in early June, of the Greenpeace report “Slaughtering the Amazon.” Since then, the main international buyers of meat and its by-products have acted to exclude from their supply chain any product connected with deforestation in the Amazon.

Before JBS-Friboi, two other major Brazilian meatpackers, Marfrig and Bertin, caved under the pressure of their biggest consumers and commit themselves to zero deforestation in the Amazon. Last week, JBS-Friboi announced the acquisition of Bertin. The combined company has a capacity to process 40 thousand cattle per day in Brazil. 

“This move will help to reduce Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions. Next, we need to see a similar commitment from President Lula and other world leaders to measures to end global deforestation at the Copenhagen climate summit in December ” said Astrini.

Greenpeace believes that a global fund, financed from emission allowances, should be created to help developing countries bring deforestation to zero by 2020.  A flexible, efficient REDD fund could avoid the worst problems of REDD offsets, honor the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, and ensure safeguards for biodiversity while stabilizing the Earth’s climate.

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VVPR info: For further information or interviews, please contact: Daniel Kessler, Greenpeace Press Officer, at 510.501.1779; or Lindsey Allen, Greenpeace Forest Campaigner, at 415-710-5601

Notes: The full "Slaughtering the Amazon" report can be found at greenpeace.org/forests.

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