JBS dispute Greenpeace claims

21 October 2011

Representatives of JBS’s Leather Division have told Leather International that the recent comments made by campaign group Greenpeace are not accurate and that the company has a policy of not sourcing cattle from farms linked with the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Greenpeace staged a fashion show on October 18 with Italian top models in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore, while the city played host to the Lineapelle show.

During the fashion show, professional models posed for a photo shoot session to a backdrop of ‘Salvati la pelle’, roughly translating to ‘Save your skin/leather’, calling on the leather industry to save itself by cleaning up its supply chain.

Greenpeace released a report on October 19 called ‘Broken Promises’ aimed at alleged Brazilian leather exporters that trade from animals raised in farms involved in deforestation, slave labour and invasion of indigenous lands. Greenpeace reveals that despite commitments to clean their supply chain of farms of deforestation and illegal activity, at least one company is falling short.

According to Greenpeace Brazil’s largest meat and leather producer, JBS, purchased cattle from 19 farms involved in one of these issues between January and May 2011. Of these, 15 farms were located inside the Mairawatsede indigenous land, in Mato Grosso State, where cattle ranching is strictly prohibited by law.

In October 2009, the largest meat and leather companies in Brazil signed an agreement to monitor and exclude animals coming from farms with environmental embargoes, invasions of protected areas and indigenous lands, new deforestation and those involved in slave labour.

‘Two years after the agreement, JBS is not meeting the demands of their customers or its own commitments’, said Andre Muggiati, Greenpeace Amazon Campaigner. ‘JBS and their clients must work together on a system to allow efficient monitoring, verification and reporting of the leather trade, in order to guarantee that their consumers aren’t unwittingly participating in deforestation’.

Cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. A recent study published by the Brazilian aerospace agency INPE shows that 61% of the areas already deforested in the Amazon are currently occupied by pastureland.

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