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?