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6 June 2012

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Brazil

Adidas, IKEA sever ties with world’s largest beef producer over Amazon deforestation

Adidas, IKEA, Clarks, and Sainsbury’s are among the big-name brands that have suspended ties with JBS, the world’s largest beef and leather producer, following a detailed “crime file” from Greenpeace. The environmental nonprofit, which released its JBS scorecard on Wednesday, found new evidence linking the Brazilian company’s business practices with illegal logging and deforestation in the Amazon.

**Bad for business**

“The international market is not interested in buying Amazon destruction. These contract cancellations clearly show that if JBS does not clean up its supply chain, the company will continue to lose business,” says Annette Cotter, a Greenpeace campaigner, in a statement. “Until JBS clearly demonstrates it is implementing the Cattle Agreement it signed in 2009, other consumers should also remove JBS from their supply chains.”

The Cattle Agreement Cotter refers to a public agreement, signed by four of Brazil’s largest beef and leather companies at the time, to boycott cattle from ranches that had recently deforested, were located in indigenous or protected lands, or were involved with slave labor.

In the three years since it was signed, however, little progress has been made. JBS, in particular, has “consistently failed to meet the minimum criteria to prevent cattle from deforested land or illegal activities from entering its supply chain,” according to Greenpeace. Over the past 18 months, the organization uncovered numerous new cases of JBS flouting each of the provisions in the agreement. As such, consumers buying cattle products from JBS cannot say with certainty that they’re not contributing to deforestation.

“The expansion of cattle ranching is the biggest driver of deforestation in the Amazon. As the biggest meat company in the world, JBS has a responsibility and the ability to lead the industry,” Cotter says. “Despite countless meetings with Greenpeace, JBS’s actions have not matched its promises and it is still far from implementing the Cattle Agreement on the ground.”

Newsletter

Assessing illegal logging

Chatham House is assessing the scale and effectiveness of the response to illegal logging and the related trade around the world. Full details of this work, including analysis and data, will be available online soon.