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Beef exporters unite against Amazon deforestation

Vast cattle ranches have contributed to deforestation in the Amazon (Greenpeace/Daniel Beltrá)
Vast cattle ranches have contributed to deforestation in the Amazon
Greenpeace/Daniel Beltrá

Described by Greenpeace as "a major step forward for climate protection", four of the world's biggest beef and leather exporters have agreed not to buy or sell cattle from newly deforested areas of the Amazon. The decision comes after a Greenpeace investigation revealed that the cattle sector is responsible for 80 per cent of deforestation in the Amazon. The four companies have agreed to monitor their supply chains and register all farms that supply cattle, directly and indirectly. In addition, they also said they would stop purchasing cattle from indigenous and protected areas and farms that used slave labour.

Brazil is the world's largest beef and tanned leather exporter, but Greenpeace exposed how ranches that had been involved in illegal deforestation sold cattle to slaughterhouses owned by large Brazilian companies, including Marfrig, Bertin, JBS-Friboi and Minerva. This led some multinational companies, including Adidas and Nike, to threaten to cancel their contracts unless they received guarantees that the products supplied were not associated with deforestation in the Amazon.

Date published: November 2009


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