Victory for Amazon cattle campaign
Companies commit to zero deforestation
At a signing ceremony in Sao Paulo on the 5th October, four of the world’s largest beef and leather companies agreed to ban the purchase of cattle from newly deforested land in the Amazon. The four - Marfrig, Bertin, JBS-Friboi and Minerva – dominate the world export market and supply the UK.
The move is due in part to pressure from British companies such as corned beef manufacturer Princes, which recently announced its own support for the moratorium. Princes has joined Clarks, Adidas and Nike by announcing its determination to cancel contracts with suppliers unless their products are guaranteed to be free from Amazon destruction.
It was by pressuring and working with these shoe and food companies that Greenpeace got the big cattle companies round the table. The tens of thousands of supporters who wrote, phoned, and demonstrated played a part in making that happen.
The cattle companies are committing to "zero deforestation in their supply chains", which, according to Greenpeace, is a really tangible and permanent commitment to take.
Reacting to the news, Greenpeace Executive Director John Sauven said:
“Today’s announcement is a significant victory in the fight to protect the Amazon. Cattle ranching is the single biggest cause of deforestation globally, and the fact that these multibillion dollar companies have committed to cleaning up their supply chains will lead to real change in the Amazon.“
“British companies have helped make this happen by getting tough with their suppliers, but this is not the end of the story. We now need to make sure that this agreement is properly enforced and extended to the entire cattle industry in Brazil.”
This success is the culmination of Greenpeace's 'Slaughtering The Amazon' campaign, which began back in June. The report explains how cattle ranching is the leading cause of deforestation anywhere in the world.
The Brazilian cattle sector, which occupies 80% of all deforested areas of the Amazon, is the country’s most carbon intensive industry. Brazil is the fourth largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
The event was attended by Governor Blairo Maggi of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, which has the highest rate of deforestation in the Amazon as well as the largest cattle herd in Brazil. Maggi announced that the state would support efforts to protect the Amazon and would provide high-resolution satellite images for monitoring.
Reacting to the news, a spokesperson from Princes said:
“Princes have held detailed discussions with our Brazilian suppliers regarding a moratorium on deforestation for cattle in the Amazon biome.
“Princes supports the need to bring about an industry-wide agreement to end deforestation and requires its suppliers in Brazil to operate in line with the principles outlined in Greenpeace’s Commit or Cancel policy. We will continue to engage with our suppliers and NGOs to ensure that these conditions are being met.“