HUGE news: Cattle industry giants in Brazil ban purchase of cattle from Amazon deforestation!

by Mike Gaworecki

October 5, 2009

I may be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean right now, but I’m very excited to take a break from campaigning for marine reserves to bring you some HUGE news about our campaign to stop deforestation in the Amazon.

Sao Paulo, Brazil – In a major step forward for climate protection, today four of the biggest players in the global cattle industry — Marfrig, Bertin, JBS-Friboi and Minerva — joined forces to ban the purchase of cattle from newly deforested areas of the Brazilian Amazon from their supply chains, backing Greenpeace’s call for zero deforestation in the rainforest.

The move follows the release of the Greenpeace report ‘Slaughtering the Amazon’ in June, which exposed the link between forest destruction and the expansion of cattle ranching in the Amazon. This prompted calls for action from key international companies, including Adidas, Nike and Timberland, which committed to cancel contracts unless their products were guaranteed to be free from Amazon destruction, encouraging today’s move.

The announcement was made at a high-level event in Sao Paulo organized by Greenpeace, where each of the companies declared the adoption of environmental and social standards to ensure their products are free from cattle raised in newly deforested areas of the rainforest.

Measures include the monitoring of their supply chains and clear targets for the registration of farms that both directly and indirectly supply cattle as well as measures to end the purchase of cattle from indigenous and protected areas and from farms using slave labor. “This is an important step in the fight to stop the destruction of one of the world’s most critical rainforests and vital to helping tackle climate change,” said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon campaign director.

The Brazilian cattle sector, which occupies 80 percent of all deforested areas of the Amazon, is the country’s leading carbon polluter.

As the press release quoted above notes, this is not just a victory for the Amazon, but a victory for the climate as well. Deforestation is responsible for more global carbon emissions than all the planes, trains, and automobiles in the world combined.

I’m personally very glad to see that these companies have agreed to help safeguard the rights of indigenous communities as part of the deal. For more info, read the full list of minimum criteria these companies have committed to, and the full press release.

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