World’s largest meat company JBS increases emissions by 51%

21st Apr 22 by Christina O'Sullivan

Despite attempts to greenwash their operations the reality is JBS’s climate footprint is increasing

JBS is the world’s largest meat company. You may not have heard of them, but you have probably at some stage eaten something supplied by them. JBS supply large chains such as Burger King, McDonald’s, Carrefour, Tesco and Walmart.

JBS claims to be tackling climate change but ultimately they want to increase their profits which will lead to more emissions. Companies recognise that people care about climate change so they publish ‘Climate plans’ filled with rhetoric such as ‘Committed to Net Zero’ and ‘Carbon offsetting’. At first glance, these climate commitments seem promising but when you dig a little deeper they turn out to be nothing but bullsh*t, a mere distraction from making any meaningful change.

JBS epitomises the greenwash tactics used by Big Livestock companies. Despite committing to be ‘Net Zero’ by 2040, JBS increased its annual greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 51% between 2016 and 2021, from 280 million metric tonnes to 421.6 million metric tonnes, based on the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)’s latest calculations. This means JBS is responsible for more GHG emissions than the whole of Italy!

JBS does not account for the majority of its emissions 

For industrial livestock companies, the animals in their supply chains make up 90-97% of their emissions. However JBS does not include these emissions in their reporting. In fact, their climate plan does not even mention meat. 

The reality is Big Livestock drives climate change; the five biggest meat and dairy companies emit more greenhouse gasses than ExxonMobil, Shell or BP. Despite JBS claiming to care about climate change, the animals in JBS’s supply chain in the past five years has increased substantially. The number of cattle has increased by 54%, pigs by 67% and chickens by 40%, resulting in an enormous increase in emissions. No true commitment to reducing emissions can co-exist with plans to increase meat production.

It’s time to move beyond the BS of Big Livestock companies – we need system change. If the food system continues to be dominated by corporations, then the concern for delivering profit to shareholders will always come before protecting people and the planet. Their greenwash won’t wash – we urgently need to transition away from Big Livestock.



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