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27 Jul 2020

The Guardian

Revealed: new evidence links Brazil meat giant JBS to Amazon deforestation

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Photographs by employee appear to show company trucks being used to transport cattle from allegedly prohibited cattle farm...This is the fifth time in a year that allegations have surfaced connecting the company to Amazon farmers linked with illegal deforestation. 

Brazilian beef companies have repeatedly claimed that the biggest challenge to keeping deforestation out of their supply chains is the “indirect suppliers” – farms where cattle are birthed, or which sell to farms where cattle are fattened, which then sell on to other farms or to slaughterhouses. JBS and other major beef firms Minerva and Marfrig all say that although they closely monitor their direct suppliers – the farms that supply slaughterhouses directly – they cannot be sure that there is no deforestation further up the supply chain because they cannot monitor indirect suppliers.

...Whilst JBS has disputed the allegations, the evidence raises serious questions about JBS’s review of its own complex supply chain, at a time when the Brazilian government is being taken to task by international investors over rising deforestation and fires.

The company has already been alleged to have been buying cattle from indirect suppliers linked to environmental offences, deforestation and other crimes in the Amazon four times in just over a year in investigations by the Guardian, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Réporter Brasil, and Greenpeace and Amnesty International. This time, the apparent link between an indirect supplier and JBS was inadvertently revealed by one of its own employees. 

...The investigation also found that the Aripuanã farm was ravaged by multiple forest fires between 2018 and 2019 by cross-referencing datasets with maps showing the farm’s boundaries. Da Cunha was asked to comment but did not respond...