Carole Mitchell

Barclays is the biggest financier of discredited meat giant JBS

Barclays is the biggest financier of discredited meat giant JBS

Press release A rotten business - report

Barclays is the biggest financier of discredited meat giant JBS

New research by BankTrack, Feedback and Mighty Earth reveals Barclays was the biggest financier of the world’s highest-emitting meat company, JBS, over the last eight years.  

The research estimates that Barclays provided over $6 billion in finance to JBS between 2015 and 2022 despite Barclays’ commitment to become net zero by 2050 and its claim that it takes a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to corruption. JBS paid out over $3.5 billion in fines for its involvement in multiple environmental, deforestation and corruption scandals over the same period. 

The figures suggest Barclays financed over a quarter of identified corporate loans and nearly a fifth of bond issuances provided globally to JBS and its global subsidiaries during this period. 

JBS is estimated to be the highest-emitting meat corporation globally – responsible for an estimated 288 million tonnes CO2e in 2021, more than the total emissions of Spain in 2021.  

With an environmental record that includes a role in the destruction of the world’s largest rainforest and fuelling of greenhouse gas emissions allegedly dwarfing those of some nations, it seems baffling that financing their activities could be acceptable to a bank with any climate commitments. 

Barclays has continued to deliver financial support to JBS, despite a decade of being linked to significant criminal, civil and environmental offences. Barclays, in turn, is profiteering from this ongoing finance for JBS.  

The sheer volume and severity of the JBS activities described in this report should be sufficient to make any financier wary. And yet there does not appear to have been a change in finance strategy from Barclays, raising the question: 

What would it take for Barclays to draw the line and stop financing JBS? 


Barclays revealed to be biggest financier of discredited meat giant JBS yet new forest policy will not stop the finance flowing

A Rotten Business - Report

New research by BankTrack, Feedback, and Mighty Earth reveals Barclays was the biggest financier of the world’s highest-emitting meat company, JBS, over the last eight years.

The research estimates that Barclays, which holds its AGM on 3rd May, provided over $6 billion in finance to JBS between 2015 and 2022 despite Barclays’ commitment to become net zero by 2050 and its claim that it takes a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to corruption. JBS paid out over $3.5 billion in fines for its involvement in multiple environmental, deforestation and corruption scandals over the same period.  

Barclay’s staggering sums to support JBS 

The research shows Barclays lent approximately US$2.75 billion in corporate loans, underwrote around US$3.5 billion in bond issuances, and provided approximately US$450 million in revolving credit facilities to JBS and its subsidiaries between January 2015 and December 2022. These figures suggest Barclays financed over a quarter of identified corporate loans and nearly a fifth of bond issuances provided globally to JBS and its global subsidiaries during this period. 

Other financial institutions drop JBS 

Whilst Barclays continues to bankroll JBS,  a number of major financial institutions have stopped financing JBS in recent years. For example, Nordea Asset Management - northern Europe’s largest financial services group - and Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global - the world’s largest pension fund - divested in 2018 and 2020 respectively. The UK pension fund Aviva has designated JBS a ‘red rated issuer’, which prevents any further active investment in the company, although it retains some passive exposure to JBS through index funds. 

Worst climate polluter in its sector fueling deforestation 

JBS is estimated to be the highest-emitting meat corporation globally – responsible for an estimated 288 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2021, more than the total emissions of Spain in 2021. JBS and its subsidiaries have the capacity to slaughter 76,150 heads of cattle, 132,000 pigs and 13.8 million poultry birds per day. The company has also been linked to multiple instances of deforestation in the Amazon. In December 2022, auditors in the Brazilian state of Pará found that 17% of JBS' cattle purchases were from ranches with "irregularities" such as illegal deforestation. 

Litany of wrongdoing 

JBS has also been involved in a series of high-level corruption scandals in the US and Brazil. ‘Operation Carwash’ – one of Brazil's largest anti-corruption investigations – resulted in JBS paying a record-breaking US$3.2 billion in fines, following testimony that executives had bribed 1,829 politicians. It has also been implicated in numerous alleged human and Indigenous rights abuses, including land grabbing, child and slave labour, and violations of workers’ rights. In February 2023, the US Department of Labor found 27 minors working in a JBS plant, using dangerous chemicals, for a cleaning contractor that was subsequently hit with a $1.5 million fine.  JBS has also faced an US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) complaint filed against it for alleged fraudulent reporting of its climate emissions.  

Barclay's new forestry policy

Barclays' new policy on forestry and agriculture commodities, published on Friday, includes beef linked directly to deforestation in South America but fails to include greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. The policy will thus allow Barclays to continue financing industrial livestock companies despite their high emissions related to enteric fermentation, manure, feed and land use - including JBS. 

The deforestation policy is also undermined by weak standards and inadequate mechanisms to identify, monitor and verify cases of illegal deforestation or exploitation, which means Barclays is reliant on its clients to police their own activities - and it does not explicitly cover livestock companies using deforestation-linked animal feed. 

Weak or ineffectual implementation of due diligence mechanisms also undermine the bank's policy on Financial Crime (2020), Modern Slavery (2021) and Climate Change (2023), including its commitment to become net zero by 2050.

The House of Lords is due to vote on new legislation in the coming weeks which could introduce mandatory due diligence requirements for financial actors, such as Barclays, and prevent them from lending to companies driving deforestation.  

Hannah Greep, Banks and Nature Campaign Lead at BankTrack said: “The fact that Barclays continues to finance JBS despite the company’s atrocious behaviour shows that it is not taking the climate and biodiversity crises seriously. The bank must expand its policies to cover all industrial livestock companies and stop financing companies like JBS that continue to grow their production by cutting down forests and abusing people's rights.”  

Martin Bowman, Senior Policy and Campaigns Manager at Feedback Global said: “Barclays seems happy to profit from industrial meat giants like JBS, despite its outsized emissions and links to illegal deforestation, human rights abuses and corruption. This prompts the question: is there any meaningful ethical limit to what Barclays is happy to fund? If Barclays won't end finance to industrial livestock corporations like JBS voluntarily, regulators must step in to regulate industrial livestock companies and their financial backers to cut off the financial fodder for this polluting industry, as part of a government-led just transition to lower meat production and consumption to help avert climate crisis.” 

Gemma Hoskins, UK Senior Director at Mighty Earth said: "Barclays ongoing financial support for JBS, despite a raft of evidence of JBS’ corruption, and links to human rights abuses and environmental destruction, is utterly incompatible to the delivery of Barclays Net Zero commitment. Barclays' overdue forestry and agriculture policy fails to detail necessary due diligence and reporting mechanisms. This policy has sufficient holes to keep bankrolling destructive companies, including JBS. Our report underscores the urgent need for the Financial and Market Services Bill to ensure that outlaw companies like JBS cannot use international capital markets to finance deforestation, pollution, and corruption."

Deforestation cases linked to JBS beef supply chain harm Indigenous lands

Deforestation cases linked to JBS beef supply chain harm Indigenous lands



Destruction of the Amazon rainforest continues at pace, with staggering losses of forest cover, bringing it ever closer to an irreversible tipping point where vast areas die back and turn to dry savannahs. The Amazon helps regulate global weather patterns and stores carbon in its millions of trees to help cool our warming world. But the scale of deforestation means it is fast releasing more carbon than it stores. Its neighbouring biome, the Cerrado savannah is disappearing even faster, having lost half of its surface area. These losses have severe local and global implications.  


Agricultural expansion to rear cattle or to grow soy to feed farm animals, largely in intensive systems, is the biggest driver of deforestation in the Amazon and the Cerrado, harming Indigenous and local communities and decimating wildlife populations. Encroachment on to Indigenous territories is widespread, threatening the rights, lives, and livelihoods of people for whom the forest is home.  

What’s the issue with beef? 

Across the Amazon farms and slaughterhouses support industrial meat operations. Cattle reared on deforested land, which has been cleared and burned, are moved from farm to farm, before entering the supply chain to be turned into beef products sold in supermarkets across the world. Co-products of the meat industry such as leather and collagen supply the auto and beauty industries.  


Photo credit: Fernando Martinho/Repórter Brasil

Why JBS? 

At the centre of these operations is Brazilian meat giant, JBS – the largest and most powerful meat processing company in the world. As part of its expansive business model, JBS is linked to the destruction and degradation of vast swathes of rainforests and ecosystems. Researchers estimate that JBS’s total deforestation footprint in six Brazilian states since 2008 may be as high as 200,000 hectares in its direct supply chain and some 1.5 million hectares in its indirect supply chain. This is linked to forest fires, modern-day slavery, and violent invasions of Indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands.  

What are the cases of deforestation? 

Mighty Earth and our partner AidEnvironment have identified 68 cases of deforestation linked to JBS’s beef supply chain, covering an area of more than 125,000 hectares, almost equivalent in size to that of the São Paulo in Brazil, or London in the UK. Most of the encroachment is occurring in the state of Mato Grosso, one of the main deforestation frontiers for meat and soy production in Brazil. The state is also a transition area between the Cerrado and the Amazon, containing key areas of both biomes. 

Using satellite technology and the Brazilian government’s DETER deforestation detection system, we mapped the location of farms in JBS’s meat supply chain and their proximity to Indigenous territories. Twelve of these farms identified as deforesting are connected to ten Indigenous Lands – either in proximity, bordering or overlapping in some cases.  

One of the cases identified is a single cattle farm (Fazenda Santiago), located in the city of Paranatinga in Mato Grosso, which overlaps an area claimed by the Ikpeng Indigenous people. More than 11,000 hectares, equivalent to 16,000 football pitches were deforested in 2022. 

All the cases were analyzed, confirmed through high-resolution satellite imagery, and validated before being published. The cases analyzed between January 2019 and October 2020 were published in the Rapid Response reports, commissioned by Mighty Earth and AidEnvironment. The cases between January 2021 and September 2022 were published in the Real-time Deforestation Monitoring (RDM) reports, produced by AidEnvironment. However, JBS has point blank refused to investigate all 68 cases of deforestation that we sent them last December.  

68 cases, Zero response from JBS 

In November and December of 2022, we sent JBS the 68 cases of deforestation. JBS responded to say it wouldn’t investigate the verified deforestation cases because the real-time system used to identify the cases does not align with its deforestation monitoring protocol. Instead, JBS relies solely on the annual deforestation satellite detection system (PRODES), allowing up to one year for deforestation to continue before the company does anything about it.  

JBS’s position as the largest meat processor in the word, and by some estimates is responsible for around half of all cattle slaughtered in Brazil, means the company has a crucial role and enormous potential to act quickly on deforestation at the 10-hectare level, before it gets to 1,000- or 10,000-hectare level.  

Given the climate and nature emergency, companies can’t sit on cases of deforestation in their supply chains and do nothing.  

JBS : time to step up your game. 


JBS refusal to investigate 68 cases of Amazon and Cerrado deforestation exposed ahead of meat giant’s AGM

Link to fact sheet here

Link to 68 deforestation cases

As JBS shareholders gather in São Paulo for its Annual General Meeting, Mighty Earth is calling for them to challenge the Brazilian meat giant’s board of directors on its refusal to investigate 68 cases of deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado, linked to JBS’ meat supply chain. New analysis by Mighty Earth reveals that twelve of the cases of deforestation have taken place on farms that are close to, border or overlap ten Indigenous territories.

Rampant deforestation on protected land

In November and December of last year, Mighty Earth sent JBS 68 cases of deforestation covering an area more than 125,000 hectares. Nearly 60% - or some 73,600 ha – were clearance of forests and native vegetation in, nearby or bordering Indigenous legal reserves areas, that should be legally protected according to the Brazilian Forest Code.


Mighty Earth mapped the location of cattle farms in JBS’ meat supply chain and their proximity to Indigenous territories, identifying that twelve cases of deforestation are connected to the ancestral lands of ten Indigenous communities. One of the cases identified is a single cattle farm (Fazenda Santiago), located in the city of Paranatinga, Mato Grosso in the Amazon, which overlaps an area belonging to the Ikpeng Indigenous people. More than 11,000 hectares, equivalent to 16,000 football pitches, were deforested in 2022.


The new analysis is revealed as thousands of Indigenous People gather in Brasilia for the annual Acampamento Terra Livre, or ATL. The event taking place over five days is a series of peaceful protests calling for stronger rights and the demarcation and protection of Indigenous lands and territories. All the cases were analyzed, confirmed through high-resolution satellite imagery, and validated before being published. The cases analyzed between January 2019 and October 2020 were published in Rapid Response report commissioned by Mighty Earth and satellite image specialists AidEnvironment. The cases between January 2021 and September 2022 were published in the Real-time Deforestation Monitoring (RDM) produced by AidEnvironment. 


The environmental groups had used the DETER daily, real-time, satellite monitoring system, developed by the Brazilian government’s space agency INPE, as the starting point to investigate and visually confirm deforestation cases with high-resolution satellite imagery. Top JBS shareholders approached by Mighty Earth ahead of the AGM include BNDES (Brazilian Development Bank), BTG Pactual, Vanguard and BlackRock.

JBS fails to investigate deforestation

In January, JBS informed Mighty Earth’s CEO Glenn Hurowitz that it would not investigate the deforestation cases as it relies solely on PRODES data, another satellite imagery-based deforestation monitoring system. PRODES was developed by INPE, a decade before DETER, and reports deforestation rates annually. INPE insists that both systems are complementary, representing powerful tools for the Brazilian government and the private sector to monitor and identify deforestation.

João Gonçalves, Senior Director (Brazil) at Mighty Earth said:

“It’s totally irresponsible for the world’s largest beef company JBS to sit for months on the 68 deforestation cases in the Amazon and Cerrado that Mighty Earth shared with the company last year.” “There is no acceptable justification for the world’s biggest meat company to refuse to act on confirmed deforestation in its supply chain detected in real time.” “We’re urging the JBS Board of Directors and powerful shareholders at the AGM in São Paulo to step in and demand that JBS properly investigate these cases and act urgently to cut known deforesters from its meat supply chain.“

What is DETER?
The Real-Time System for Detection of Deforestation, or DETER, provides daily deforestation alerts at medium spatial resolution, so that Brazilian environmental law enforcement agencies can quickly identify and inspect new forest clearing areas in the Amazon and Cerrado. As an early warning system, DETER allows a rapid response deforestation monitoring system to locate illegal deforestation starting at 3 hectares. Analysts argue that DETER alerts serve as a strong launching pad for investigating deforestation in real-time, especially when visually confirmed with high-resolution satellite imagery. 

What is PRODES?
The Project for Monitoring Deforestation in the Legal Amazon by Satellite, or PRODES, generates an annual deforestation rate for the Amazon and uses highresolution satellite data to identify areas that have been cleared between September of the previous year and August of any current year. Losses are identified starting at 6.25 hectares – deforestation of smaller areas does not enter the annual rate. Analysts say PRODES offers a strong estimate of annual deforestation rates, but the infrequency of date updates is insufficient to effectively carry out real-time monitoring systems. 

JBS se recusa a investigar 68 casos de desmatamento relacionados com a sua cadeia de fornecedores de carne

Às vésperas da Assembleia Geral da empresa, a Mighty Earth pede aos acionistas da JBS que exijam ações sobre 125 mil hectares de desmatamento na Amazônia e no Cerrado ligados às suas cadeias produtivas de carne. 


Link para o relatório aqui  

Link para 68 casos de desmatamento


São Paulo, 24 de abril 2023 - Enquanto os acionistas da JBS se reúnem em São Paulo na segunda-feira, 24 de abril, para sua Assembleia Geral Anual, a Mighty Earth pede para que eles desafiem o Conselho de Administração da gigante brasileira de carnes sobre sua recusa em investigar 68 casos de desmatamento na Amazônia e no Cerrado, ligados à cadeia de fornecimento de carne da JBS.  

Os casos, que totalizam uma área desmatada de 125 mil hectares, o que praticamente equivale ao tamanho da cidade de São Paulo, foram reunidos pela Mighty Earth e apresentados à JBS entre novembro e dezembro do ano passado. Após afirmar, em troca de e-mails com a organização, que iria investigar caso-a-caso, a JBS alegou que, mesmo com a comprovação de imagens de satélite para todos os casos listados, não poderia tomar medidas contra os pecuaristas envolvidos devido ao sistema de monitoramento de desmatamento em tempo real utilizado. 

“É totalmente irresponsável que a maior empresa de carne bovina do mundo, a JBS, se recuse a agir em relação aos 68 casos de desmatamento que a Mighty Earth identificou na Amazônia e no Cerrado”, afirma o diretor sênior da Mighty Earth no Brasil, João Gonçalves, que continua: “Assim, pedimos ao conselho e aos poderosos acionistas reunidos na Assembleia Geral da JBS, que intervenham e exijam que a empresa tome atitude para manter seu compromisso de eliminar o desmatamento da sua cadeia de suprimentos, proibindo ou bloqueando fornecedores com áreas desmatadas em suas propriedades”.  

Os 68 casos apresentados pela Mighty Earth à JBS fazem parte de uma série de relatórios produzidos pela organização em parceria com a AidEnvironment, com o objetivo de fornecer análises de desmatamento recente para que o setor privado aja rapidamente no combate, antes que a situação se agrave. Para tanto, as análises usam como base dados fornecidos pelo DETER (Sistema de Detecção do Desmatamento em Tempo Real), divulgados pelo Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE). Após a confirmação do desmatamento por meio de imagens de satélite, cada um dos casos é então analisado cruzando dados de várias fontes, incluindo informações públicas, e validados localmente.  

Em sua resposta à Mighty Earth, a JBS disse que não investigaria os casos de desmatamento, pois para eles o sistema oficial de análises geoespaciais é o PRODES (Projeto de Monitoramento do Desmatamento na Amazônia Legal por Satélite), outro sistema desenvolvido pelo INPE com divulgações anuais dos dados de desmatamento. Segundo o INPE, ambos os sistemas são complementares, representando uma ferramenta poderosa para o governo brasileiro e o setor privado monitorarem e identificarem o desmatamento. 

“Não existe justificativa aceitável para uma empresa do porte e com a responsabilidade da JBS ignorar confirmações de desmatamento por imagens de satélite em tempo real. Sistemas como o DETER, são aliados de empresas que querem agir rapidamente para combater o desmatamento em sua cadeia de fornecedores. O que, claramente, não parece ser o caso da JBS”, finaliza Gonçalves.  

Escândalo da soja: comerciante norte-americano no centro da investigação sobre desmatamento ilegal na Amazônia brasileira


Link to report here 

Link to video here  

Novo relatório da Mighty Earth mostra que a gigante de commodities agrícolas Cargill comprou de uma fazenda que queimou 400 hectares de floresta tropical para cultivar soja. 

Um novo relatório da Mighty Earth liga a gigante norte-americana de commodities Cargill a recentes incêndios ilegais e ao desmatamento de 400 hectares da floresta amazônica brasileira, equivalente a 560 campos de futebol e à perda de mais de 220.000 árvores e inúmeras espécies. Durante nove meses, a investigação mapeou a cadeia de fornecimento de soja desde a fazenda na Amazônia, passando pela gigante agrícola norte-americana Cargill, até os produtores de carne no Reino Unido e, finalmente, até as prateleiras da maior rede de supermercados do Reino Unido, a Tesco.  

A investigação conjunta da Mighty Earth, Ecostorm e Repórter Brasil documenta evidências de incêndios ilegais ocorridos em setembro de 2022, usados para limpar florestas para cultivar soja rica em proteínas, para alimentar aves e porcos criados em sistemas industriais intensivos no Reino Unido. A fazenda brasileira em questão, Santa Ana, localizada em Mato Grosso, já havia sido bloqueada como fornecedora da Cargill, mas na época da investigação foi dito pela Cargill que cumpria as regulamentações para evitar o desmatamento. Nossa investigação também descobriu evidências de lavagem de grãos, onde a soja cultivada legalmente é misturada com a soja plantada em terras desmatadas ilegalmente. 

Nosso relatório destaca que os incêndios ilegais e o desmatamento florestal na fazenda Santa Ana violam a Moratória da Soja na Amazônia, que proíbe a venda de soja cultivada em terras desmatadas após 2008, as leis brasileiras e as próprias políticas da Cargill.  

Principais conclusões:  

  • Imagens de satélite da fazenda Santa Ana, fornecedora da Cargill, situada em Mato Grosso, mostram um total de 635 hectares de desmatamento da Amazônia, dos quais 400 hectares foram queimados em poucos dias em setembro de 2022. Isso equivale a 560 campos de futebol.  
  • Nossa investigação mapeia a cadeia de fornecimento de soja da fazenda Santa Ana, em Mato Grosso, através das instalações da Cargill no porto de Santarém, no Pará, para o Reino Unido e destaca o risco de contaminação por desmatamento do fornecimento brasileiro de soja da Cargill, que representa 70% do total de importações de soja para o Reino Unido.  
  • Nossa investigação mapeia vários fornecedores – aumentando o risco de a soja contaminada com o desmatamento chegar às prateleiras de carne do maior varejista do Reino Unido, a rede de supermercados Tesco.  

Monitoramento de desmatamento falho da Cargill 

A Cargill insiste que tem procedimentos robustos para evitar que o desmatamento entre em sua cadeia de fornecimento de soja e para que as fazendas cumpram a Moratória da Soja e os embargos de agências federais e estaduais no Brasil. Sustenta que, quando a fazenda Santa Ana foi adicionada à lista proibida da Moratória da Soja em maio de 2021, a Cargill imediatamente bloqueou as compras da fazenda em questão. No entanto, a Cargill diz que desbloqueou a fazenda em junho de 2022, apenas alguns meses antes de mais 400 hectares de desmatamento ocorrerem.  

Em uma declaração recente à Mighty Earth, a Cargill disse: "Conforme relatado em nosso Relatório de Soja, uma vez que uma fazenda é bloqueada, há um processo robusto que deve ser seguido para que uma fazenda seja desbloqueada. Neste caso [referente à fazenda Santa Ana], no ano seguinte, o agricultor comprovou o cumprimento da Moratória da Soja, que foi validada pelas organizações governamentais e ONGs. Como resultado, em junho de 2022, o agricultor foi retirado da lista de embargos da Moratória da Soja e, portanto, desbloqueado no sistema da Cargill. O fornecedor continua em conformidade com as regras da Moratória da Soja.  

Este caso não é uma exceção e destaca as falhas fundamentais nos sistemas de monitoramento de desmatamento relacionados à soja e nos mecanismos de aplicação da Cargill, levando ao risco de contaminação da soja da Cargill vendida em todos os setores de agricultura, alimentos e varejo do Reino Unido. 

Glenn Hurowitz, fundador e CEO da Mighty Earth, disse: 

"A Cargill afirma que colocou a fazenda Santa Ana de volta em seus livros em junho de 2022, pois cumpriu todas as regras necessárias e, no entanto, menos de três meses depois, investigações documentaram incêndios ilegais e desmatamento na fazenda."  

"Se a Cargill, a maior empresa privada dos EUA, quer ser parte da solução para a crise climática e da natureza, ela precisa se abastecer de fornecedores que cultivam em terras anteriormente degradadas, das quais existem 1,6 bilhão de acres na América Latina. Não daqueles que ainda estão incendiando florestas." 

"Isso também significa aumentar urgentemente sua ambição em linha com seus concorrentes e clientes de varejo e antecipar sua meta de desmatamento para 2025. Não podemos permitir mais sete anos de desmatamento se quisermos salvar o que resta da Amazônia e evitar os piores impactos das mudanças climáticas." 

Gemma Hoskins, Diretora Sênior (Reino Unido) da Mighty Earth, disse: 

"O ‘business-as-usual’ não é uma opção se quisermos enfrentar a emergência climática. A Tesco deve se comprometer a fornecer apenas de empresas que não coloquem a Amazônia e outros biomas importantes em risco. Isso significa cortar os laços com a gigante de commodities dos EUA, a Cargill." 

Tesco: A basket of problems for the Amazon



Link to report here 

Link to video here  


New report by Mighty Earth shows chicken and pork products sold in Tesco’s UK stores linked to Amazon deforestation, equivalent to 560 Wembley pitches  

A new Mighty Earth report, “Tesco: A basket of problems for the Amazon,” shows chicken and pork products sold in Tesco stores are linked to recent, illegal fires and deforestation of 400 hectares of Brazilian Amazon rainforest, equivalent to 560 Wembley football pitches, and the loss of more than 220,000 trees. It follows a thorough investigation mapping Tesco’s full soy supply chain from farm level in the Amazon, via US agricultural giant Cargill, on to UK meat producers Avara and Pilgrim’s UK, and finally to the shelves of the UK’s biggest retailer.  

Meat products found on Tesco’s shelves linked to deforestation-risk soy from the Amazon include Tesco branded chicken breasts, tenders and chicken nuggets. For the first time, our investigation made links from Cargill to a leading UK pork supplier and trading division of Pilgrim’s UK, direct suppliers to Tesco. 

The joint investigation by Mighty Earth, Ecostorm and Repórter Brasil documents evidence of illegal fires set in September 2022, used to clear forests to grow high-protein soy, to feed pigs and poultry reared intensively in factory farms in the UK. The Brazilian farm in question, Santa Ana located in the Mato Grosso region, had previously been blocked as a Cargill supplier, but at the time of the investigation was said by Cargill to comply with regulations to prevent deforestation. Our investigation also uncovered evidence of grain laundering, where legally grown soy is mixed with soy grown on illegally deforested land.  

Our report highlights that the illegal fires and forest clearing at Santa Ana farm breach the Amazon Soy Moratorium (ASM), Brazilian laws, the UK Soy Manifesto’s commitment, and Cargill’s own policies. The ASM bans the sale of soy grown on land deforested after 2008. 

Mighty Earth is urging Tesco to drop soy suppliers such as Cargill that have been persistently linked to alleged deforestation and ecosystem destruction in the Amazon and other threatened biomes in Latin America, such as the Cerrado savannah and the Pantanal. 

Key findings:  

  • Satellite images of Cargill supplier Santa Ana farm, situated in Mato Grosso, show a total of 635 hectares of Amazon deforestation, 400 hectares of which were burned within a few days in September 2022. That’s equivalent to 560 Wembley pitches.  
  • Our joint investigation maps the soy supply chain from Santa Ana farm in Mato Grosso in Brazil to the UK and highlights deforestation contamination of Cargill’s Brazilian soy supply, which makes up 70% of the UK’s total soy imports. 75% of Cargill's UK supply originates from Santarém port in Pará in Brazil.  
  • New evidence from our soy investigation uncovered how the British pork sector also has links, via feed suppliers, to Amazon deforestation.  
  • Our investigation maps multiple suppliers – which risk being contaminated with deforestation-risk soy through Cargill’s supply – to Tesco across a range of chicken and pork products sold online and on its supermarket shelves.  
  • In January and February 2023 our investigation established that an Avara animal feed mill in Hereford in the UK is supplying soy meal feed to chicken farms in the county. 
  • Our investigation documented, for the first time, grain deliveries from Frontier Agriculture, a joint Cargill-Associated British Foods venture, to ForFarmers feed mill. It supplies BQP farms, which supplies pork and is a trading division of Pilgrim’s UK, direct suppliers to Tesco. 
  • A recent Human Rights Assessment report, prepared on behalf of Pilgrim’s UK, estimated 65% of its pork was supplied by BQP. ForFarmers previously admitted that approximately 14% of its UK soy is sourced from Brazil. 

Soy journey from Amazon farm to Tesco shelves 


Gemma Hoskins, UK Director at Mighty Earth said: 

Our investigation shows Tesco is a basket of problems for the Amazon. While the UK’s top retailer reaps massive profits, it continues to do business with known forest destroyers such as Cargill, adding fuel to the fire of Amazon deforestation, harming the health of local communities, and decimating wildlife and precious habitats.”  

“We’ve shown that soy grown on recently burnt and deforested land in the Amazon risks entering the Cargill supply chain to feed chicken and pigs reared intensively on factory farms in the UK, before ending up in Tesco’s meat aisles.”  

“Business as usual isn’t an option if we want to tackle the climate emergency. Tesco should only source from companies that don’t put the Amazon and other precious biomes at risk. That means cutting ties with Cargill urgently.” 

Impact on Tesco’s deforestation commitments 

Tesco has committed to a 2020 cut-off date for deforestation and to source 100% of its soy from Deforestation and Conversion-Free (DCF) areas by 2025, including all forms of deforestation, both legal and illegal. That means it cannot buy goods from land deforested after 2020. Our new evidence shows that Tesco’s 2020 cut-off date has been breached and indicates that its 2025 target is likely unachievable, while it continues to source such high volumes of soy from Cargill. Its target date of DCF by 2030 is incompatible with Tesco, and with incoming due diligence laws in the UK, designed to clean up forest-risk supply chains.  

Cargill’s flawed supply chain 

Cargill insists it has robust procedures in place to prevent deforestation from entering its soy supply chains and for farms to comply with the ASM and Brazilian law. It maintains that when the Santa Ana farm was added to the Soy Moratorium’s prohibited list in May 2021, Cargill immediately blocked purchases from the farm in question. However, Cargill says it unblocked the Santa Ana farm in June 2022, just months before a further 400 hectares of deforestation occurred. In a recent statement to Mighty Earth, Cargill said about the Santa Ana farm:  

As reported in our Soy Report, once a farm is blocked, there is a robust process in place that must be followed for a farm to be unblocked. In this case [referring to the Santa Ana farm], in the following year, the farmer proved compliance with the Soy Moratorium, which was validated by the governing organizations and NGOs. As a result, in June 2022, the farmer was removed from the Soy Moratorium embargo list and, therefore, unblocked in Cargill’s system. The supplier remains compliant with the Soy Moratorium rules. 

This case is not an exception and highlights the fundamental flaws across Cargill’s soy related deforestation monitoring and enforcement systems, leading to the risk of contamination of Cargill soy sold across the whole of the UK’s farming, food, and retail sectors. 

Glenn Hurowitz, founder, and CEO at Mighty Earth said: 

Cargill maintains it put the Santa Ana farm back on its books in June 2022 as it complied with all the necessary rules and yet less than three months later, teams on the ground documented illegal fires and a staggering 400 hectares of deforestation on the farm.”  

“If Cargill, the biggest privately-owned US company, wants to be part of the solution to the climate and nature crisis, it needs to source from suppliers farming on previously degraded land, of which there are 1.6 billion acres in Latin America, alone. Not from those who are still torching forests.” 

“Cargill urgently needs to increase its ambition in line with its competitors and customers and bringing forward its deforestation target to from 2030 to 2025. We can’t allow another seven years of deforestation if we’re to save what’s left of the Amazon and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”  




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Scientists estimate that the Amazon rainforest is close to an irreversible tipping point, where vast areas of the rainforest will die back and turn to dry savannahs. This has severe local and global implications. The people and wildlife that live there need standing forests for their survival. The Amazon helps regulate global weather patterns and stores carbon in its millions of trees to help cool our warming world. But the scale of deforestation means it is fast releasing more carbon than it stores. Agriculture is the biggest driver of deforestation in the Amazon, harming local communities and decimating wildlife populations. Huges swathes of rainforest have been lost to cattle farming and soy, grown as animal feed. How we produce food is linked to deforestation and supermarkets are complicit in this.  

How the chicken and pork in your Tesco store is fuelling Amazon destruction 

What’s the issue with soy? 

Soy ranks as one of the UK’s top imported agricultural commodities with the highest deforestation risk. The UK imports 3 million metric tons of soy each year, 90% of which is used to feed animals, largely in intensive systems. UK supermarkets are driving demand for soy for livestock feed. 

Brazil is the world’s biggest producer of soy. It’s estimated that over 20 million hectares of Brazil's forest cover have been lost to soy growing in the last three decades. And it’s not likely to improve any time soon, with global meat consumption increasing.  

We mapped the soy supply chain from one farm, Santa Ana, in the Brazilian Amazon to the shelves of Tesco. The farm, which supplies soy to US commodities giant, Cargill, we found evidence of 400 hectares of rainforest burned within a few days in September 2022 to make way for soy. That’s more than 560 Wembley football pitches lost in a matter of days, on a single farm.  

Our investigation follows the journey of illegally grown soy at Santa Ana farms in the Amazon on its route through Brazil, and its likely transfer to Cargill’s grain store at Santarém port, from where over 75 percent of Cargill’s UK is shipped to Liverpool. On arrival in the UK the soy is sent onto meat processing companies, Avara and Pilgrims, which supply chicken and pork products to Tesco.  

Why Tesco? 

Tesco is the ninth biggest supermarket in the world by revenue and holds the largest share – some 27% – of the UK retail market. At almost 100,000 tonnes, Tesco had the largest soy footprint of the UK major supermarkets. Agricultural giant, Cargill made up almost a quarter (22%) of Tesco’s soy footprint in 2021. 

Tesco has promised to be deforestation-free in its soy supply chains by 2025, but this target is unachievable if it continues to do business with Cargill - Tesco is Cargill’s main customer in the UK. As the UK’s biggest retailer and with such a dominant market share, Tesco can use its power as a force for good to clean up its supply chains and cut ties with known forest destroyers such as Cargill.  

None of us wants to be dining on deforestation. We can demand change. 




Mighty Earth files complaint with US Securities and Exchange Commission against JBS ‘green bonds’

“ leaders are saying one thing – but doing another. Simply put, they are lying, and the results will be catastrophic.”  UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, April 4, 2022  

Washington DC, January 17, 2023 — Senior executives at Mighty Earth have filed a whistleblower complaint to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), calling for a full investigation into alleged misleading and fraudulent “green bonds” issued by the Brazilian meat giant JBS. 

Evidence presented to the SEC details how JBS, the world’s largest meat processor with operations in over 20 countries, issued $3.2 billion in four separate debt issuances or “green bonds” in 2021, referring to them as Sustainability-Linked Bonds (SLBs) tied to its stated goal to cut its emissions and achieve “Net Zero by 2040.”  

The heart of the complaint centers on the fact that JBS based the bond offerings on its commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 – but that its emissions have in fact increased in recent years and it excluded ‘Scope 3’ supply chain emissions that comprise upwards of 97% of its climate footprint. It also omitted key information from investors about the actual number of animals it slaughters each year, denying US investors vital information to make fully informed decisions about JBS’s net zero and climate-related claims as they decided whether to purchase these SLBs. 

Mighty Earth’s CEO Glenn Hurowitz said: 

JBS seduced investors with sustainability pledges, but those pledges had practically zilch to do with the actual source of JBS’ supersized climate impact. Companies simply shouldn’t be able to ignore the environmental impact of 97% of their operations and then market themselves as green.” 

“The fact that the meat company arguably responsible for more climate pollution and deforestation than any other in the world was able to raise $3.2 billion through green bonds is an indictment of the utter lack of safeguards in the world of ESG investing. JBS’ success in duping investors shows that SEC needs to step in right away to set clear rules about what does or doesn’t count as sustainable.”  

“We need trillions of dollars in investment in decarbonization, but it shouldn’t be wasted on industrial meat companies that are driving deforestation and spewing pollution into the atmosphere.”  

“The facts uncovered in today’s SEC filing should signal to investors that they can’t take company sustainability claims at face value. JBS’ materials make the company sound like Greta Thunberg even as their suppliers burned the Amazon and spewed enormous amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Before JBS makes elaborate claims like these, they need to first stop the bulldozers in their supply chain and slash their methane pollution.”    

The complaint cites the official Second Party Opinion on JBS’ Sustainability-Linked Securities that concluded that the bonds “were not material to the whole corporate value chain as the KPI does not include Scope 3 emission,” which are responsible for an estimated 97% of the company’s footprint.  

Our complaint – the first against a Sustainability-Linked Bond – highlights that since 2017 JBS has concealed the true scale of its emissions footprint, by failing to disclose the number of animals it slaughters every year, which are the primary source of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These Scope 3 emissions relate to animals in its supply chain – from deforestation, methane, and land use change to rear cattle on the thousands of farms and feedlots, which directly and indirectly produce meat for JBS in Brazil, the United States and beyond.  

Despite JBS’ claims, the complaint shows that JBS is heading in the opposite direction when it comes to reaching net zero by 2040. The complaint argues that JBS omitted material information in its bond offering and investor presentations about its Scope 3 emissions. The most recent published analysis shows that instead of JBS’ emissions footprint shrinking, it is estimated to have grown by between 17% and 56% between 2016 and 2021, to 288 million metric tons COequivalent in 2021, and may be as high as 541 million metric tons CO2.  For context, JBS’ estimated total emissions of 288 mmt CO2 in 2021 exceed the entire emissions of Spain. 

Alex Wijeratna, Senior Director at Mighty Earth, said:  

This is greenwashing so severe that we hope the SEC investigates it as securities fraud. We’re urging the SEC to conduct a full investigation into these $3.2 billion of JBS green bonds, in order to protect investors from wrongdoers who mislead, conceal, and massively under-report their climate emissions. 

Kevin Galbraith, attorney for Mighty Earth and the whistleblower, said: 

“JBS’ long history of corporate misconduct resulting in billions of dollars in fines from several governmental agencies and yet no apparent modification of its behavior make plain that the company needs more than a slap on the wrist. These facts require an energetic investigation of the material misrepresentations that we have alleged in the whistleblower complaint. JBS’ greenwashing achieved its desired effect: the company accessed U.S. capital markets to raise billions from unsuspecting investors, including asset managers who had signed on to a pledge to avoid issuers whose conduct fuels climate change. We are confident that when the SEC’s Climate and ESG Task Force carefully examines what has happened here, it will take appropriate action to hold JBS accountable and ensure that it lives up to its environmental promises.” 

Indigenous activist and filmaker, Edivan Guajajara, who supported the SEC submission, said:  

For too long big business has held all the power, deforesting at will in the Amazon to rear cattle or grow soy, on land taken from Indigenous communities.  The tide is turning and we’re seeing more organizations willing to call out bad practice and pursue legal challenges.  We support this, as none of us can fight this alone.