What price a beefburger?


Four of the largest companies in the global cattle market have announced an end to their part in Amazon deforestation.

At a meeting in Sao Paulo last week the four companies – Bertin, JBS-Friboi, Marfrig and Minerva — agreed to support the Greenpeace call for an end to the deforestation.

According to Greenpeace this means they will stop purchasing cattle from newly deforested areas and will also register and map all cattle ranches that supply their businesses. They also made noises suggesting they would end the purchase of cattle from indigenous and protected areas and also from farms that still use modern slave labour.

cattle in south americaThis announcement follows news in July and August that some of the major users of leather, including Nike, Timberland, and Clarks, have all agreed their production will not be the cause of new deforestation.

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said about the news: "Today's announcement is a significant victory in the fight to protect the Amazon. Cattle ranching is the single biggest cause of deforestation globally, and the fact that these multibillion dollar companies have committed to cleaning up their supply chains will lead to real change in the Amazon."

This latest announcement shows the continuing and deep success of the Greenpeace report "Slaughtering the Amazon" that named and shamed companies and supply chains that traced directly back to deforestation.

The global market for beef, and meat in general, is insatiable. Where once it was treated as a luxury product it is now seen as an "absolute right" to eat meat with every meal.

This fight is particularly relevant to the Brazilian Amazon as Brazil has the largest cattle herd in the world, but this news places the Brazilian government in a somewhat exposed position. They publicly voice ambitions to halt deforestation, but privately are still huge financers of the global beef and leather markets.

Brazil’s economic progress is tied to its natural resource wealth so, in the short term at least, any radical changes to the business plan may impact on these aims. However, with a growing public perception of the relationship between climate change and deforestation countries like Brazil can take some solace in the fact they may soon be paid to keep their forests standing.

If you read this you might enjoy these too:

The future of the planet depends on its forests


deforestation As Copenhagen - and a promised new climate deal – rushes towards us a rallying cry has been issued by The Forests Dialogue (TFD) who say “conservation of world’s forests key to planet’s survival.”

More success for Greenpeace campaigns


picture of deep green jungle British shoemakers, Clarks, which all discerning British schoolchildren wear (including a much younger me), join the list of companies agreeing not to source leather products from Amazon deforestation.

Timberland follow Nike's lead on Amazon leather


picture of a timberland boot Pressure from Greenpeace has resulted in Timberland - famous for outdoor footwear - announcing a policy agreement that will help ensure leather in their products does not contribute to new Amazon deforestation.