In this file:
· Investors drop Brazil meat giant JBS
· Supermarkets under pressure to drop JBS following Amazon deforestation allegations
· Brazil's JBS caught “laundering” cattle from ranches blacklisted for destroying the Amazon rainforest
Investors drop Brazil meat giant JBS
Top investment house delists world biggest meat producer over lack of commitment to sustainability issues
Dom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro, The Guardian (UK)
28 Jul 2020
The investment arm of northern Europe’s largest financial services group has dropped JBS, the world’s biggest meat processer, from its portfolio. The Brazilian company is now excluded from assets sold by Nordea Asset Management, which controls a €230bn (£210bn) fund, according to Eric Pedersen, its head of responsible investments.
The decision was taken about a month ago, over the meat giant’s links to farms involved in Amazon deforestation, its response to the Covid-19 outbreak, past corruption scandals, and frustrations over engagement with the company on such issues. “The exclusion of JBS is quite dramatic for us because it is from all of our funds, not just the ones labelled ESG,” Pedersen said.
ESG stands for the “environmental, social and governmental” standards used to evaluate a company’s sustainability and societal impact for investors. A third of Nordea Asset Management’s investments are classified as ESG, Pedersen said. Nordea was one of 29 international financial institutions managing $3.7tn (£2.9tn) worth of funds that warned the Brazilian government last month over rising deforestation. Last year, Nordea suspended the purchase of Brazilian government bonds after the Amazon fires crisis.
Over the past year alone, five exposés by the Guardian, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the Brazilian agency Réporter Brasil, Greenpeace and Amnesty International, have linked JBS to cattle supplied by Amazon farms involved in deforestation.
Although the company has made advances in controlling its “direct suppliers” – the farms from which its slaughterhouses source cattle – it is unable to control its “indirect suppliers”. These are farms breeding or rearing cattle that sell on to farms that in turn supply JBS slaughterhouses. In some cases, the “clean farms” have links to “dirty farms” – or are even run by the same people, as in the latest case revealed on Monday.
JBS and Brazil’s other large-scale meat producers Minerva and Marfrig have been subject to controversy over their Amazon cattle sourcing for more than a decade.
In 2009, after a devastating Greenpeace report, JBS, Marfrig, Minerva and other companies committed to stop buying from any direct suppliers involved in deforestation. Within two years, they promised to verify that their indirect suppliers were not involved in deforestation, either – but that promise has yet to be fulfilled. That same year JBS, Minerva and Marfrig signed similar deals with federal prosecutors.
In 2017, JBS was fined $7.7m by government environment agency Ibama for buying over 49,000 cattle from illegally deforested areas in the Amazon state of Pará – some from indirect suppliers. As a result, Greenpeace walked out of the deal, but the agreement with federal prosecutors still stands. In July 2019, an investigation published by the Guardian, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Réporter Brasil found that JBS slaughterhouses in the same state had bought cattle from farms owned by AgroSB Agropecuária SA, a powerful ranching company.
Those farms had been supplied with cattle from another ranch owned by the same company – a ranch with a long history of fines and land embargoes for deforestation. AgroSB said the deforestation had occurred before it bought the land in 2008. JBS said it did not buy cattle from land that had been illegally deforested or embargoed against use for ranching and that its own 2018 independent audit showed that more than 99.9% of its purchases met the terms of the Greenpeace deal. It did not say that its independent audit recognised the company was unable to audit its indirect suppliers. And earlier this year a Réporter Brasil investigation published by the Guardian linked the company to a farmer whose farm, according to satellite images, had seen extensive deforestation in 2015. A sawmill the farmer had owned in another location also had a long list of fines. A court recently dropped charges against him in another case involving the massacre of nine men.
JBS reiterated its previous position that it did not buy cattle from farms involved in deforestation, invasion of indigenous reserves, rural conflicts or land conflicts, and denied the farmer had ever been a supplier. The company said it monitored more than 50,000 potential cattle-supplying farms every day and had blocked more than 8,000 due to non-compliance.
It told the Guardian:
more, including links
Supermarkets under pressure to drop JBS following Amazon deforestation allegations
By Harry Holmes, The Grocer (UK)
27 July 2020
Morrisons and Lidl are among supermarkets under mounting pressure to drop JBS SA as a supplier after the meat giant was linked to a Brazilian beef farm allegedly under embargo for rainforest destruction.
JBS, which supplies Morrisons and Lidl’s own-brand corned beef as well as Princes, and Exeter, a brand owned by KTC Edibles, has repeatedly insisted it does everything it can to stop cattle reared on illegally deforested land entering its supply chain.
However, it has always claimed it can only monitor its direct suppliers.
Now, a joint investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Repórter Brasil, and The Guardian claims to have uncovered photos showing a JBS truck picking up cattle from a farm with land allegedly under embargo for environmental violations.
Photos posted on Facebook last year by a Brazilian lorry driver appear to show a JBS lorry picking up cattle from Estrela do Aripuanã, whose owner was fined 2.2m real (£340,000) in 2012 for rainforest destruction, and transporting them to Estrela do Sangue, a direct supplier of JBS.
In addition to the fine, 1,455 hectares of land in the Aripuanã area were placed under official embargo prohibiting cattle grazing, according to records published by Ibama, Brazil’s environment agency.
Although the Facebook photos show only one journey, cattle movement records seen by The Grocer reveal that from June 2018 to August 2019 at least 7,000 animals were sent from Estrela do Aripuanã to Estrela do Sangue. Separate records show the Sangue farm sent about 7,000 cattle to JBS abattoirs between November 2018 and November 2019.
Campaigners are now calling for supermarkets to reassess their relationship with the Brazilian meat giant. “Retailers must stop trading with all JBS-owned companies while we still have enough of the Amazon left to fight for,” said John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK.
JBS disputed claims the farm identified in the Facebook post was under embargo. It told The Grocer it undertook its own background checks on Estrela do Aripuanã, concluding “that the geographic coordinates of the farm that the cattle were collected from, were not those on the Ibama list and were free of any such Ibama.”
“The confusion has arisen whereby the CPF (Brazilian National ID) of the property owner appears on the Ibama List of Embargoes Areas. What the report fails to take into account is that the Ibama list also details the geographic coordinates of the specific embargoed area,” said a spokeswoman.
JBS also told The Grocer that before the transport pictured in the photos was approved, the farm “was cross-referenced with JBS’ advanced geospatial satellite monitoring capability to ensure that the property was not involved in illegal deforestation. This is in full compliance with the Ibama regulations and industry best-practice.”
A Princes spokesperson said: “JBS have confirmed to Princes that both of the farms stated by The Grocer are direct suppliers and as such are subject to GPS monitoring and verification against government embargoed farms. Neither of the farm locations referred to are on any government blacklist.”
Faazi Adam, research and engagement manager at FAIRR, a global investor network, said that given Brazilian cattle typically moves several times before reaching the slaughterhouse, it was vital supermarkets themselves assessed every agent in the supply chain...
Brazil's JBS caught “laundering” cattle from ranches blacklisted for destroying the Amazon rainforest
July 28th 2020
Brazilian firm JBS, the world's biggest meat processing company, was again accused on Monday of “laundering” cattle from ranches blacklisted for destroying the Amazon rainforest.
The charge, leveled in a report by an investigative journalism consortium, marks at least the fifth time in just over a year that the company, which exports around the world, has been accused of cattle laundering.
That is a practice in which animals from a blacklisted ranch are transferred to one with a clean record to dodge a ban on sales.
The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, British newspaper the Guardian and Brazilian journalism group Reporter Brasil said in the joint report that pictures posted on Facebook by a JBS truck driver appeared to show him and his colleagues transporting cattle from a blacklisted ranch, Estrela do Aripuana, to a “clean” one 300 kilometers away, Estrela do Sangue, in July 2019.
The drivers wore JBS uniforms and drove JBS trucks in the pictures.
Located in the west-central state of Mato Grosso, which is largely covered in Amazon rainforest, Estrela do Aripuana was blacklisted by Brazil's environment ministry in 2012 over the illegal deforestation of around 1,500 hectares of land.
Authorities also fined its owner 2.2 million Reais (around US$1 million at the time).
The consortium said it had obtained Brazilian government records indicating that at least 7,000 animals were shipped from the embargoed ranch to the “clean” one between June 2018 and August 2019.
Other documents show the latter sold 7,000 animals to JBS slaughterhouses from November 2018 to November 2019, it said.
JBS denies cattle laundering and says it is implementing measures to prevent third parties from sneaking such animals into its supply chain. “We have adopted an unequivocal stance of zero deforestation,” it said in a statement, adding it had opened an internal investigation into the latest allegations...