Supermarket drops Brazilian beef products linked to deforestation

European supermarket chains J Sainsbury, Carrefour and Ahold Delhaize will stop selling some Brazilian meat products after an investigation found they contributed to the the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

Pressure to stop deforestation has increased since last month COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

It led more than 100 countries to commit to ending meat production by 2030 supported by cattle are raised on land where rainforests and savannas have been cleared – the main source of carbon emissions.

As the world’s largest beef exporter, Brazil’s meat processing industry has long faced intense scrutiny over its supply chain and its impact on climate change.

The decision by Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second largest supermarket chain, Belgian stores by Carrefour, French retailer and Albert Heijn, the largest chain in the Netherlands and part of Ahold Delhaize, follows a investigation by environmental campaigners Mighty Earth and NGO Repórter Brasil, published Thursday.

The report highlights the risk of supply chain pollution from processed meat, where cows from deforested areas are sent to suppliers for fattening and ultimately slaughtered by processors like JBS. , Marfrig and Minerva. This meat is sold in European supermarkets as products, such as beef jerky, corned beef and premium cuts of meat.

Brazil is the world's top beef exporter

About a fifth of the beef the EU imports from Brazil each year is linked to illegal deforestation in the Amazon rainforest and the Cerrado savannah, according to the scholar. search. However, high consumer demand for the products has helped push the rate of deforestation under the Amazon rain forecast to a 15-year high.

Albert Heijn said on Thursday that it would stop supplying beef from Brazil to all of its stores. Sainsbury’s says it will move its own branded corned beef out of Brazil.

It was sold with corned beef prepared by JBS, though Warning about beef products linked to deforestation by environmental and social campaign group Earthsight in 2019.

Carrefour in Belgium and French retailer Auchan added that they would phase out beef jerky products produced by the JBS joint venture.

Carrefour said it would “strengthen oversight in all of the countries where it operates”, while Sainsbury’s said it had “played an active role in developing clear requirements for the beef industry”. in Brazil and engage with meat packers to achieve better supply chain transparency in this area.”

Meanwhile, Lidl Netherlands said it will stop selling South American beef from next month. Metro of Germany, which stocks tenderloin from Marfrig, said it was in the process of investigating the report’s claims.

Graph of beef production process in Brazil

JBS says it has “zero tolerance for illegal deforestation, forced labour, misuse of indigenous land, conservation units or violations of the environmental embargo”. It added that it blocked vendors that did not comply with its policies.

“We have made extensive investments in a new blockchain-enabled platform to overcome this challenge and achieve a supply chain that is completely free of illegal deforestation by 2025,” the company said.

Marfrig says more than 60% of its suppliers in the Amazon and 47% in the Cerrado Prairie have been mapped to date, and it will map its entire supply chain by 2030.

Minerva said it has begun testing with a digital tool, developed by the University of Wisconsin in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, to assess supply chain risks.

Additional reporting by Jonathan Eley in London

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