The Brazilian butcher, the big banks and the deforestation
New evidence exposes links between Brazilian meat company JBS and ongoing deforestation in the Amazon.
In response to Feedback’s recent report, Brazilian butcher JBS said “it takes a zero-tolerance approach to deforestation in its supply chain”. But a new investigation by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Reporter Do Brasil provides compelling new evidence that it does not.
Photos from a JBS employee, show a JBS truck being used to move cattle between a farm fined for deforestation of rainforest and still under official embargo, to a “clean” farm, that sells cattle onto JBS. The Brazilian beef giant has long claimed that they cannot monitor indirect supplies and disputes the allegations.
Investors have argued that to improve practices (like illegal deforestation linked to cattle ranching) it is better to engage with companies, than to cut them adrift. Yet despite years of engagement with JBS around deforestation, corporate governance, and human rights issues – little has changed.
Engagement is failing. JBS is the canary in the coalmine. Industrial meat and dairy corporations are incapable of changing and are incompatible with deforestation, climate and food system goals.
This investigation is also compelling evidence that major financial providers will be in direct violation of their own deforestation policies if they continue their financial relationship with JBS. Feedback’s research suggests that investors and banks who are potentially in violation of their own policies include HSBC, Credit Suisse, Santander, BNP Paribas, Rabobank, UBS, Northern Trust, Banco Do Brazil, Janus Henderson. Find the top ten creditors and investors in JBS below – Feedback will this week be sharing a full list of investors as part of our trailblazing commitment to open data campaigning.
HSBC, for example, “will not knowingly provide financial services to customers involved directly in or sourcing from suppliers involved in[…] deforestation”. In response to our recent report, Butchering the Planet, a HSBC spokesperson told the Guardian that “the bank took its “agricultural commodities policy very seriously” and regularly assessed clients “for commitment to sustainable business practices”. The UK’s largest investor in JBS, Prudential, claimed last month it was actively engaging with Amazon fire and deforestation issues and provided The Guardian with a document explaining specific strategies with Marfrig and Minerva Foods – failing to mention JBS.
Today the focus is on JBS, tomorrow there will be new horrors in the supply chains of these corporations that pay little regard for people or planet. Investors are becoming more vocal, but it is time for the positive words to lead to decisive action. It is time to divest and defund industrial meat and dairy.
|Parent||Investor Parent Country||Loans||Underwriting||Grand Total|
|Royal Bank of Canada||Canada||1,711||495||2,205|
|BMO Financial Group||Canada||729||495||1,224|
|Truist Financial||United States||591||186||777|
|JPMorgan Chase||United States||751||751|
|US Bancorp||United States||491||186||678|
|Banco do Brasil||Brazil||507||507|
|Sum of Per Investor Value (in mln US$)||Type of financing|
|Investor Parent||Investor Parent Country||Bondholding||Shareholding||Grand Total|
|Fidelity Investments||United States||443||144||587|
|Waddell & Reed Financial||United States||159||159|
|JPMorgan Chase||United States||152||3||155|
|Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance||United States||146||146|
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