JBS improves environmental record on cattle buying, audit finds

Competitor Minerva showed no nonconformities in Para
calendar icon 29 October 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

JBS SA, the world's largest meatpacker, has reduced cattle purchases from ranches with "irregularities" such as illegal deforestation, Reuters reported, citing a report from federal prosecutors, who conducted their latest round of audits in the Amazonian state of Para. The report was released on Thursday.

Prosecutors said in a briefing that 6% of JBS's audited cattle purchases came from farms potentially blacklisted for environmental or human-rights violations, down from nearly 17% in the previous auditing cycle and as much as 32% in the prior one.

"We are satisfied with the evolution. But our goal is to achieve 100% compliance," Liège Correia, sustainability director at JBS in Brazil, said in a statement. The statement noted that 94% compliance is an improvement over the score of 83% compliance in the previous cycle.

JBS and other major meatpackers reached a settlement with federal prosecutors in 2013 in which the companies agreed not to buy cattle from ranches that were cleared illegally since 2008 or otherwise found in breach environmental laws. "Companies that do not adapt and do not carry out audits are harming the Amazon," said Prosecutor Ricardo Negrini in a statement. By failing to monitor their own supply chains, the companies would be "encouraging crime," he added.

Beef production is associated with deforestation in Brazil as land grabbers have for decades cleared the Amazon rainforest to graze livestock or grow crops.

A separate audit of South America's largest beef exporter, Minerva, showed no nonconformities in Para, according to the prosecutors' presentation.

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