Brazil is the country with the world’s greatest biodiversity. It’s also the sorry world champion of deforestation. In 2020, it’s 11,000 km² (or 2,247 sq.mi) of Amazon which have been destroyed. According to some scientists, the region has reached the tipping point. At this rate, The Amazon will become a savannah. One of the principle causes of this destruction is the raising of cattle.
After the fires in 2019, in partnership with several Brazilian organisations, we investigated the country’s beef supply chain.
Here we found one of the best-known French retailers and the first to launch 100% vegan/organic stores in France (Naturalia). 47% of its profits are made in South America and it is the N°1 retailer in Brazil and Colombia: Casino group.
Our investigation details the practices of 4 farms involved in deforestation in Brazil, in both The Amazon and The Cerrado. These farms using illegal means supply the Casino group in Brazil: 52 products sold on the shelves of 10 stores and the butcher’s sections of 2 stores were identified. These farms alone represent 11,120 acres of forest illegally chopped down to make way for pasture for cattle. Protected, indigenous lands are also converted.
One of the farms is Fazenda Ellus, in The Amazon (Mato Grosso).
Ellus was a direct supplier to JBS in Araputanga from 2018-2019
JBS in Araputanga supplies GPA/Casino’s Extra stores in Cuiabá with fresh meat.
Given Casino group’s size in Brazil, in 2019 alone, that’s 56,000 ha (nearly 140,000 acres), an area 5 times the size of Paris, which has been deforested by farms supplying the group with no specific policy on the issue. Technological solutions and efficient traceability tools already exist, Casino group has no excuse for not ensuring the totality of the meat sold in its stores, including that coming from indirect supplier farms, is not linked to deforestation. As a French company with more than 5,000 employees, Casino group is obliged to respect the obligations outlined in the law relating to duty of vigilance of parent companies.
This is why we demand Casino group to immediately stop playing #doubledealing with the forest and to:
Following the publication of the report on the Casino group’s responsibility for deforestation in South America (Brazil and Colombia) last June, followed by a media campaign and the output of the group’s formal notice on Monday 21 September, things have changed.
Indeed, the international slaughterhouses and the Casino group have published various updates about the beef industry in South America. Here are the main points:
The “Pão de Açúcar” group has published a new version of their sustainable beef purchasing policy (which had not been updated since 2016). This version although showing a change in the group’s mentality (taking into account processed products or production control system) remains far below our expectations in terms of the fight against deforestation. Indeed, the distributor still does not make any commitment with regard to indirect suppliers but only mentions the complexity of this traceability. Moreover, it does not set long-term objectives and does not specify whether verification audits will be carried out.
The main slaughterhouses in Brazil have recently made various commitments on traceability within their supply chain. This is notably the case of Marfrig and Minerva during the summer but more recently of the leader in beef slaughtering and processing in Brazil (JBS). They have committed to tracking all of their indirect suppliers by 2025. However, these commitments do not mention a zero-deforestation policy, leave traceability to direct suppliers without really providing a control solution, do not mention the other biomes (such as Cerrado and Pantanal) and above all set targets for 2025, which is far too far away.
These commitments show that our efforts are beginning to bear fruit, but there is still a long way to go. It is therefore important to continue our efforts and to push for commitments and concrete actions from the entire sector.