Brazilian meat companies sign up to Amazon moratorium

6 October 2009

At a signing ceremony in Sao Paulo, Brazil on October 5, 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, which includes Marfrig, Bertin, JBS-Friboi and Minerva – are some of the largest meat and leather processors in the world.

Marfrig recently acquired a majority stake in the Uruguayan tanning group Zenda Leather, while the recent merger of JBS-Friboi and Bertin has created the largest tanning group in the world.
The move is due in part to pressure from companies such as Clarks, Adidas and Nike by requiring its suppliers in Brazil to guarantee their products are free from Amazon destruction.
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 multi-billion dollar companies have committed to cleaning up their supply chains will lead to real change in the Amazon.’
In June this year a Greenpeace report entitled ‘Slaughtering the Amazon’ exposed the link between forest destruction and the expansion of cattle ranching in the Amazon region. The report explains how cattle ranching is a cause of deforestation.
According to Greenpeace, 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 Greenpeace say 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.

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