Bunge: “Responsible soy” or just greenwash?

Bunge: “Responsible soy” or just greenwash?

The US company, which Mighty Earth revealed was linked to recent rampant deforestation in the Cerrado, is a “platinum sponsor of an industry event on “responsible soy.” 


Mighty Earth attended the recent Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) annual conference in São Paulo, Brazil and we were baffled to see that US commodities trader Bunge was a “platinum” sponsor of the event for a second year running. Our latest report found Bunge was linked to recent soy-driven deforestation in the Cerrado, equivalent to nearly 16,000 soccer pitches. 

The RTRS said Bunge’s sponsorship is part of a multistakeholder approach that strengthens the roundtable. The irony is not lost on us that Bunge, claiming to be committed to responsible soy, is the same company we found buying deforestation-linked soy from three farms in the Cerrado, Brazil’s most threatened biome and Bunge admitted it plans to continue with this business-as-usual approach until 2025. 

Bunge: “Responsible soy” or just greenwash?


With annual revenues of $67 billion, Bunge is the main supplier of soy animal feed to the meat industry in the European Union and is one of the traders with the greatest deforestation risk linked to soy in the Cerrado. Bunge ships vast amounts of soy to Europe to feed animals in intensive farming systems, destined for the meat aisles of major supermarkets in France, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands – for beef, poultry, pork, and dairy products.  

Greenwashing its soy commitments? 

One of the key criteria of the RTRS is that there should be no conversion to soy plantations of any natural land after a 3rd June 2016 cut-off date. This is a more ambitious date than the 2020 date required by the new European Deforestation Regulation (EUDR). Our investigation found that Bunge recently bought soy from three farms responsible for the equivalent of 15,897 soccer pitches of deforestation in the Cerrado (11,351 ha), cleared after 2021, so beyond the 2016 and 2020 cut-off dates of the RTRS and the EUDR respectively.  

Bunge confirmed to Mighty Earth that it has recently sourced soy directly from some of the farms named in our investigation – although it said the deforestation was legal under Brazilian law and failed to provide any further details. Bunge also told us that it does not have a deforestation cut-off date of 2020, and so will accept legally deforested, deforestation-risk, or deforestation-linked soy in its supply chain until 2025. Ten years ago, Bunge promised to be deforestation-free by 2025, so it seems it’s business-as-usual for the next year or so, with Bunge continuing to buy soy from suppliers that are laying waste to what remains of the Cerrado. With this position, why would Bunge sponsor a “responsible soy” conference? Is it just greenwashing?  

Race to clear the Cerrado 

The Cerrado is disappearing twice as fast as its neighbor the Amazon, taken by the meat industry to grow soy as animal feed. Going by the conversations taking place at the RTRS meeting, other traders represented by Abiove (Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries) also share Bunge’s lack of ambition and urgency to end deforestation in the Cerrado. What they’re planning is, in fact, the opposite. While discussing the limits and opportunities of the EUDR, Abiove insisted its members can only adopt a “future cut-off date” (i.e., 2025), not a “past one”. Abiove and the traders recognized that it may trigger a “race to clear the Cerrado” before 2025 but seemed to accept this as the Cerrado’s fate. It is worth noting that the RTRS is a voluntary certification and that the EUDR doesn’t accept any voluntary certification to comply with the new law’s Due Diligence procedure.  

Recent data from Brazil’s Space Research Institute (INPE) revealed that deforestation increased in the Cerrado, up by 89 percent year-on-year in September. And the environment is not the only concern. A new investigation by Friends of the Earth U.S, Action Aid USA, and Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos shows Bunge’s links to land grabbing and human rights violations in the Cerrado. 

The Cerrado is home to thousands of Indigenous Peoples and to 5% of the world’s plant and animal species. Known as Brazil’s “cradle of waters” it could lose more than a third of its river flows by 2050, if soy expansion continues at current levels. We cannot sacrifice the Cerrado to support a broken food system. We need supermarkets to cut ties with bad actors like Bunge, who far from sourcing “responsible soy” are, in fact, driving an ecosystem to the brink of collapse, by supporting irresponsible and destructive practices. We cannot allow this to happen. We need the Cerrado as much as the Amazon to tackle the climate crisis. In the meantime, the RTRS needs to think carefully about Bunge’s sponsorship of its “Responsible Soy” conferences. 

Saving the Cerrado: Why Supermarkets, Bunge and Governments Must Act Fast

Saving the Cerrado: Why Bunge, supermarkets and governments must act fast

New Mighty Earth report prompts leading supermarkets to investigate 


Click on your language to read the report, the press release and watch the video

New Blog on Bunge






The Cerrado savannah, Brazil’s “forgotten jewel,” is less well known than its neighbor the Amazon, but it is just as important in helping us stabilize our climate and protect nature. We need the Cerrado as much as we need the Amazon.  

The Cerrado is in peril, disappearing at an alarming rate, becoming a deforestation hotspot. Half of its land surface has been lost, taken by the meat industry to rear cattle and grow soy for animal feed. Scientists warn it is vulnerable to ecosystem collapse, and risks becoming a barren wasteland, unable to support the people and wildlife who live there.






The Cerrado is the world’s largest and most diverse savannah, home to 5% of the world’s plant and animal species, including many that are endangered: the jaguar; the giant anteater and the maned wolf. It is home to many Indigenous and local communities.

Known as an ‘upside-down forest’, it stores around 13.7 billion tons of carbon in its soils and immense root system, equivalent to that of a tropical forest. It is also a major water source, but soy expansion to feed livestock in intensive farming systems, means it is becoming drier and hotter.  

Deforestation in the Cerrado hit a record high of 353,200 hectares between January and May 2023, and recent figures from the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) show deforestation rates
rising steeply there incomparison to the Amazon, where rates are declining.



What’s the issue with soy? 

Brazil is the world’s biggest producer of soy. It is estimated that over 20 million hectares of Brazil’s forest cover have been lost to soy growing in the last three decades. The Cerrado is at the epicentre of soy production and expansion. Across the world, the meat industry uses soy as a high protein feed for livestock, primarily to produce immense volumes of cheap meat as quickly as possible, stacked high on the shelves of global supermarkets.  

Why Bunge?  

US-based Bunge is one of the big international corporations that trades in soy for animal feed. It has ambitions to be the biggest, having just announced a merger with Dutch company Viterra, to form a $34BN agricultural giant. 

With annual revenues of $67 billion, Bunge is the main supplier of soy animal feed to the meat industry in the European Union and is the trader with the greatest deforestation risk linked to soy in the Cerrado, after the two next worst commodities giants, ADM, and Cargill.  

Bunge ships vast amounts of soy to Europe to feed animals in intensive farming systems, destined for the meat aisles of major supermarkets in France, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands – for beef, poultry, pork, and dairy products. Markets in Europe are causing more deforestation in the Cerrado than anywhere else in the world. 

What we found 

Bunge recently bought soy from three farms responsible for the equivalent of 15,897 soccer pitches of deforestation in the Cerrado (11,351 ha), cleared after 2021. Our partner AidEnvironment also detected another five cases linked to an additional 14,598 hectares of deforestation that took place on soy farms in the Cerrado in early 2023, in high-risk areas where Bunge is the leading soy exporter. 

Bunge confirmed to Mighty Earth that it has recently sourced soy directly from four of the eight farms named in our investigation – although it said the deforestation was legal under Brazilian law and failed to provide any further details. 

Bunge told us that it does not have a deforestation cut-off date of 2020, and so will accept legally deforested, deforestation-risk, or deforestation-linked soy in its supply chain until 2025. 

What has been the impact of our investigation?  

We contacted 100 companies to ask if they had links to soy from Bunge in their meat supply chains. Five confirmed that they did, and several major supermarkets have acted, launching investigations. These include Carrefour and Casino in France, Ahold Delhaize and Jumbo in the Netherlands and Aldi South in Germany. 

We need Bunge, supermarkets, and governments to do more and to do it fast to save the Cerrado, before it is too late.  



Graphics : Rémi Cans,

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.”  




Read our press release Our press release (Portuguese) Take Action: Read the full report here.  Take Action: Watch and share our video  Tesco AGM blog





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. 




L’Amazonie s’approche du point de bascule: il y a urgence !

L’Amazonie s’approche du point de bascule : il y a urgence ! 

La déforestation explose et la forêt amazonienne peine à se régénérer. D’immenses étendues, riches d’une biodiversité unique au monde, pourraient se transformer en savane. Certains scientifiques parlent de “point de bascule”, qui pourrait radicalement modifier non seulement la région mais le monde dans lequel nous vivons. 

Les scientifiques alertent sur l’arrivée du point de bascule de l’Amazonie 

La théorie des points de bascule part du principe qu’il existe des seuils à partir desquels un changement, même infime, peut faire basculer un système dans un état totalement différent, et ce, très rapidement. Ces changements brutaux ont des conséquences irréversibles à l’échelle planétaire. 

Dans le cas de l’Amazonie, le point de bascule est directement lié au taux de déforestation. Un récent article de la revue Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development réalisée sur les 30 dernières années a montré que l’arrivée du point de bascule est bien plus rapide que prévue initialement. L’étude indique que lorsque 20 à 25% de la superficie de la forêt amazonienne sera déboisée, elle ne pourra plus se régénérer et entrera dans un processus de transformation irrémédiable. Cela veut dire que lorsque l’Amazonie aura perdu 22% de sa surface, elle ne pourra plus recycler les pluies et laissera place à un climat sec qui transformera la forêt équatoriale humide en savane. 

Plus d’infos:
Full article: Collision Course: Development Pushes Amazonia Toward Its Tipping Point (
20191128climat.pdf (

Le développement de l’élevage bovin dans la région depuis les années 1970 a massivement participé à détruire la superficie amazonienne brésilienne. La production de soja visant à nourrir les animaux du monde entier et notamment en France, est un exemple frappant de l’implication de l’industrie de la viande dans la destruction massive de l’Amazonie mais aussi du biome du Cerrado.

Si l’on n’agit pas pour arrêter la déforestation dans la région, les forêts d’Amazonie pourraient dégager jusqu’à 90 milliards de tonnes de CO2, soit le double des émissions totales annuelles mondiales. 

Plus d’infos:
When will the Amazon hit a tipping point? (

Les données satellitaires récoltées dans le cadre de l’étude, ont également montré que plus de 75% de la forêt vierge a perdu sa stabilité depuis le début des années 2000. Elle met donc beaucoup plus de temps à se rétablir après les sécheresses et les incendies.

Plus d’infos:
Climate crisis: Amazon rainforest tipping point is looming, data shows | Amazon rainforest | The Guardian

La situation en 2022: 20% 

La forêt amazonienne est aujourd’hui amputée de 20% de sa superficie, notamment dans la partie Sud de la forêt. 

L'étude ne permet pas de prédire exactement quand le point de bascule pourrait être atteint, mais les chercheurs tirent la sonnette d’alarme, car au moment où le déclenchement du point de basculement sera détecté, il sera trop tard pour l'arrêter. Ce dépassement du point de bascule accélèrera irréversiblement le réchauffement de la planète. Selon les chercheurs, nous approchons du seuil. 

La situation au Brésil est dramatique, les forêts d’Amazonie et les savanes du Cerrado brûlent. Alors que la déforestation en Amazonie avait diminué au début des années 2010, la déforestation et les feux explosent de nouveau au Brésil et atteignent des records en 2022. 

il y a urgence, il faut agir et vite ! 

Cette déforestation est directement causée par l’activité non durable des multinationales de de l’élevage qui alimentent les supermarchés dans le monde. Il est encore temps d’éviter le point de bascule : nous appelons Carrefour, leader de la grande distribution au Brésil, et supermarché mondial majeur à changer radicalement ses pratiques. 

European Supermarkets fail to act on deforestation-linked soy

Major European supermarkets Tesco, Carrefour, Asda, Lidl and Sainsbury’s have been urged to drop key global soy companies after an investigation by Mighty Earth found over 27,000 hectares of deforestation on soy farms in the threatened Cerrado savannah in Brazil.

Less well known than the Amazon rainforest, Brazil’s tropical Cerrado is the world’s most biodiverse savannah and wooded grassland and it has become a global hotspot for soy and cattle-driven deforestation. Most of the soy-driven deforestation observed was used to produce soy animal feed. Meat is the world’s largest driver of deforestation, wildlife extinction, and displacement of Indigenous peoples.

Eleven members of the Retail Soy Group – Ahold Delhaize, Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Migros, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose and Woolworths – and other retailers such as Carrefour with similar corporate policies promising to ban deforestation-risk soy after a 2020 cut-off date have been urged to investigate Mighty Earth’s findings and to immediately drop key soy traders linked to this new deforestation in the Cerrado. 

Based on satellite imagery analysis, Mighty Earth’s new report Promises, Promises! found five major global soy traders Bunge, Cargill, COFCO, LDC and ALZ Grãos continued to buy soy from Brazilian suppliers and conglomerates who had cleared and deforested at least 27,000 hectares on ten farms in the Cerrado since after August 2020 cut-off. This is an area larger than the city of Edinburgh in Scotland, or half the size of Chicago.

"Major supermarkets like Tesco, Carrefour, Asda and Lidl should urgently investigate and then ban any soy company with proven links to deforestation,” said Alex Wijeratna, Senior Director at Mighty Earth

Read the full report:


Cargill: pull out of Russia - action at Cargill HQ

Mighty Earth volunteers visited Cargill to say: Stop doing business in Russia. Cargill must cease its $1 billion+ business in Putin's Russia. 

They carried thousands of petition signatures and a letter from Ukraine civil society groups and allies from Minnesota and around the country and world.

Thanks to the volunteers, allies and especially Ukrainian organizations who reached out to ask Cargill to stand with them. Watch what happened:

Statement on Cargill’s “Scaling Back” Russian Business

March 11, 2022 – Cargill announced today that it is “scaling back” its business in Russia and stopping investment there, as pressure from Ukrainian organizations, Mighty Earth, and allies mounted on the company.

Cargill’s announcement today that it is “scaling back” its Russian business activities and stopping investment is a “step in the right direction.” Still, Cargill now needs to pull out entirely, according to Ukrainian and global conservation leaders.

"War in Ukraine is a tragedy not only for people but also for the environment. Cargill must continue to take a hard look at the impact of its continuing to send tax revenue to support the Russian invasion,” said Yehor Hrynyk of the Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group.

Over 300 Western businesses ranging from ExxonMobil to McDonald’s have pulled out of Russia to show their opposition to the Putin regime’s brutal invasion. Cargill has suspended operations in Ukraine but has resisted calls to suspend its Russian operations entirely. 

“This is a good step forward for Cargill in re-evaluating its investments in Russia. Anyone who does business with and pays taxes to Vladimir Putin’s government is fueling Russia’s war machine,” said Glenn Hurowitz, founder and CEO of Mighty Earth. “We hope this move will spur a broader reexamination of Cargill’s role in the world, spurring the company to move away from being a business that supports authoritarian governments, drives the destruction of ecosystems, and makes an outsized contribution to climate change.”

“The disruption caused by Russia’s invasion of the Ukrainian breadbasket highlights the need for companies and countries to scale up investments in plant-based and cultivated proteins dramatically, so we’re not so dependent on fragile international supply chains for animal feed,” Hurowitz said.

Cargill competitor LDC announced on March 4 that it was suspending operations in Russia, but ADM and Bunge have also refused to pull out of Russia. However, companies exposed to these traders and Cargill in their supply chains, such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Yum! Brands and PepsiCo have announced they are pulling out. 

Privately-owned Cargill’s unethical business practices worldwide have long been in the spotlight. In 2019, Mighty Earth’s report, The Worst Company in the World, detailed the company’s history, including its undermining of the embargo on the Soviet Union in response to the invasion of Afghanistan.

About Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth ( is a global advocacy organization working to defend a living planet.  Our goal is to protect half of Earth for Nature and secure a climate that allows life to flourish.  We are obsessed with impact and aspire to be the most effective environmental advocacy organization in the world. Our team has achieved transformative change by persuading leading industries to dramatically reduce deforestation and  climate pollution throughout their global supply chains in palm oil, rubber, cocoa, and animal feed while improving livelihoods for Indigenous and local communities across the tropics.

MEDIA RELEASE: Mighty Earth reaction to the UK Soy Manifesto commitment


Contact: Joel Finkelstein

1-202-285-0113 | [email protected]

UK Contact: Robin Willoughby, 07595763925. [email protected]


On Tuesday 9th November, members of the UK food industry, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, ASDA and KFC will sign and launch the UK Soy Manifesto, which commits that all physical shipments of soy to the UK are deforestation and conversion free.

Statement of Mighty Earth UK Director Robin Willoughby:

“The message from some of the UK’s largest food businesses to the agribusiness traders working in Brazil, Argentina and other critical areas of biodiversity is clear. No to industrial animal feed that has been produced by bulldozing tropical forests and savannah land and be genuinely transparent about where you source from. 

“But British supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s could have gone much further. This announcement fails to match an agreement on a gold standard that these same companies committed to only a month ago. 

“After missing a 10-year target to tackle deforestation by 2020, supermarkets have essentially extended the deadline by another three and a half years. In this time, savannah land more than double the size of Greater London will have been cleared from the Cerrado biome in Brazil due to the expansion of soy production.

“Worryingly, the UK Soy Manifesto also relies on self-reporting from the very same agribusiness traders that are driving the destruction of forests in the first place.

“To be credible, the signatories to the Soy Manifesto need to put in place clauses in supplier contracts immediately to ensure deforestation and conversion-free soy, rather than punt this down the road. 

“Group-level responsibility means that they should also drop suppliers and agribusiness traders such as Cargill and Bunge that are systematically linked to deforestation or fail to be fully transparency about where they source their soy for industrial animal feed.”

Specific Provisions of the Commitment

  • Through the UK Soy Manifesto, signatories agree to commit to a cut-off date of January 2020, meaning that signatures will not accept any soy from deforested land – either legal or illegal – after that date. This will apply to both direct and embedded soy to the UK market in their products. 
  • They will put in place a publicly available action plan to implement the UK Soy Manifesto by 2025, cascade the commitment into direct supplier contracts and commit to ensure that they enact commercial consequences for non-compliance. They will publicly report against progress annually.
  • Signatories have given themselves three and a half years to put these measures in place. However, many could be in place within as little as six months. In this time, forest and savannah land equal to double the size of Greater London will have been cleared from deforestation hotspots such as the Cerrado in Brazil at present rates [annual deforestation rates attributed to soy expansion are estimated to reach 110,000 hectares a year in the Cerrado alone].
  • The commitment addresses single supply chains from high-risk biomes into the UK market. This ignores a recommendation of the gold-standard ‘Retail Soy Group Roadmap’ for corporate policy to apply to suppliers at their group level – irrespective of the specific company supply chain. 
  • The UK Soy Manifesto states that transparency is a requirement for the UK market and that signatories will aim to improve transparency and traceability. However, the detail on transparency measures largely rely on the same agri-business traders that are driving deforestation in the first place. The transparency and traceability requirements fall far short of those outlined in more the more ambitious RSG roadmap – which states that traceability should be ensured by traders to a level that compliance can be ascertained. 
  • For success, the UK Soy Manifesto should have an immediate implementation period and follow the ‘group-level accountability principle’ meaning that signatories will not source from companies credibly linked to deforestation. Full traceability should be a condition in supplier contracts and systems should be established to monitor non-compliance that do not rely on self-reporting from traders.

# # #

Mighty Earth’s new monitoring data reveals deforestation connected to soy trader and meatpackers in Brazil more than doubled over two-year period

Mighty Earth’s new monitoring data reveals deforestation connected to soy trader and meatpackers in Brazil more than doubled over two-year period

The largest soy traders and meatpackers in Brazil have failed on their promises to end deforestation in their supply chains and continue to do business with suppliers that are destroying rainforests and savanna. 

review of the past two years of monitoring data (March 2019-March 2021) demonstrates that deforestation detected in companies’ supply chains more than doubled in the second year of monitoring compared to the firstHowever, despite this escalating crisis, only one case of deforestation has ever been resolved by these companies out of the 235 recorded by our monitoring.  

Thupdated tracker includes new data from Mighty Earth’s three latest Rapid Response reportsreleased in partnership with Aidenvironment. The new data builds on the original version of the tracker and policy brief released in December 2020 to encompass a full two years of monitoring (March 2019-March 2021.) 

Key Findings: 

  • The tracker update reveals that major soy traders and meatpackers are linked to more than 314,000 hectares deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado over the past two years (March 2019 to March 2021) -- an area larger than twice the size of London. Yet, out of 235 cases of deforestation that Mighty Earth has sent to companies, only one has ever been resolved. 
  • The data reveals a pattern of escalating amounts of deforestation carried out by soy trader and meatpacker suppliers. On average, deforestation connected to supply chains of soy traders and meatpackers more than doubled over a two-year period of monitoring. This pattern mirrors increasing rates of deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes overall during this time periodi. 
  • JBS was the worst-scoring meatpacker and company overall. It has been linked to 100,000 hectares of clearance the past two years – an area larger than all of Berlin. 75 percent of this clearance occurred in protected areas, making it potentially illegal under Brazilian law.  
  • Bunge and Cargill are the worst performing soy traders, despite their recent sustainability reports touting their nearly deforestation-free supply chainsBunge is linked to almost 60,000 hectares of clearance – more than a third of which took place in protected areas. Meanwhile, Cargill is linked to more than 66,000 hectares of clearance -- the largest amount out of any other soy trader.  
  • While no company performs well in the tracker, some are performing better than others, such as Amaggi and Louis Dreyfus out of the soy traders. 

Many US supermarkets continue to buy from Bunge, Cargill, and/or JBS despite these numbers – including Costco, Walmart, and Kroger. Bunge, Cargill, and JBS are also major suppliers to European supermarkets, including Tesco, EDEKA, Carrefour and Albert Heijn (Ahold Delhaize.)

In addition to the worst-scorer JBS above, the other two meatpackers included in the tracker, Marfrig and Minerva, are also poor performers, having been connected to more than 50,000 hectares of clearance eachMost of this clearance is potentially illegal, having occurred in protected areas. Much of the deforestation included in the meatpackers’ scores is related to their indirect suppliers, which meatpackers currently cannot fully trace and therefore cannot monitor for deforestation. 

Although Mighty Earth sends all instances of deforestation detected in our monitoring system to meatpackers and soy traders on a monthly basisthey very rarely take action on the suppliers responsible for the destruction. Only one case of deforestation has ever been resolved by a company, out of 235 cases to date that Mighty Earth sent to companies in the past two years 

One example of this inaction is meatpackers continuing to source from Agropecuária Santa Bárbara Xinguara (AgroSB a company that has direct and indirect links to JBS, Marfrig, and Minerva. Mighty Earth and Aidenvironment have caught AgroSB deforesting or setting fires on six separate occasions during the past two yearsAgroSB has also been accused of exploiting workers and money laundering.ii The clearance carried out by AgroSB now totals more than 2,800 hectares, more than 2,200 of which occurred in protected areas. The clearance could have been stopped long ago, but inaction from meatpackers allows business to continue as usual.  

Similarly, Cargill and Bunge continue to source from SLC Agrícola despite repeated deforestation cases connecting the supplier to more than 11,000 hectares of clearance over our two years of monitoring. Furthermore, SLC Agrícola is associated with $200 million land grabbing corruption schemeiii. While SLC Agrícola committed to stop deforesting in 2020, it admitted it still had more clearing to do before implementing the commitment and has actively opposed a deforestation cut-off date in the Cerradoiv. It also recently bought 8 new properties through its acquisition of Terra Santa Agro, one of which overlaps with more than 18,000 hectares of Indigenous land in Mato Grossov 

AgroSB and SLC Agrícola are examples of how the agricultural groups and property owners implicated in deforestation cases are often also connected to land conflicts, labor rights violations, government bribery and environmental crimes, which are further detailed in our Rapid Response reports. 

Beyond the issue of deforestation, many cases added to the tracker involve the concerning use of fire. About half of the deforestation cases from Rapid Response reports added to the latest tracker update also involved fire incidences. Often, producers use fire to clear debris from bulldozed trees after they’ve deforested. Fires set by agricultural companies can often spread out of control, resulting in the destruction of land and air quality of Indigenous and local communitiesvi. The worst performers in the tracker tended to be linked to more fire incidences. For instance, 63 percent of new cases connected to Bunge included in the updated tracker involved fire events on the property. Meanwhile, 55 percent of new cases connected to JBS involved fires. 

Ultimately, no company featured in the tracker can claim a clean supply chainAll companies in the tracker lack full traceability of their direct and/or indirect supply chain and therefore are limited in their validation and investigation of our reports of deforestation. Even the best performer in the tracker, soy trader Amaggi, still only earns a total of 56 points out of 100 points and is connected to more than 5,000 hectares of clearance. 

The Solution 

The buyers and financiers of the soy traders and meatpackers must take significant action that includes contractual penalties if significantly more progress on their zero-deforestation commitments is not made by supplying traders and meatpackersThey should ensure that the soy traders and meatpackers in their supply chain: 

1) Agree to a cut-off date for deforestation in the Cerrado with a 2020 cut-off date 

2) Adopt zero deforestation and zero conversion commitments for all sourcing areas, including those outside of Brazil. 

2) Adopt a suspend-then-engage approach to suppliers with widespread conversion, either legal or illegal 

3) Develop a publicly available joint-monitoring system that includes transparent traceability to farm-level for all suppliers 

4) Commit to the advancement of corporate and government policies that protect Indigenous land and secure workers’ rights 

Want to learn more about our methodology? 

*Data reflects company responses as of April 15 2021 

Want to take action? 

Visit our petition page  

Beef Scorecard: Global Food Brands Failing to Address Largest Driver of Deforestation

WASHINGTON, DC – The world's top supermarket and fast-food companies are largely ignoring the environmental and human rights abuses caused by their beef products, a new scorecard by Mighty Earth finds. The scorecard evaluates the beef sourcing practices of fifteen of the world’s largest grocery and fast-food companies that have pledged to end deforestation across their supply chains. Despite beef’s role as the top driver of global deforestation, only four companies- Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Carrefour, and McDonald’s - have taken some action to stop sourcing beef from destructive suppliers.

Scores shown for each food company
Click to Enlarge

“A small handful of global beef suppliers are leading the destruction of our global forests and selling meat to food companies around the world,” said Lucia von Reusner, Senior Campaign Director for Mighty Earth. “Supermarkets and fast-food companies are the gatekeepers in the supply chain that can either enforce sustainability standards or continue to allow meat suppliers to sell beef from deforested land to unwitting customers.”

Public awareness and concern about the environmental impacts of meat production is on the rise. Cattle is the most significant driver of native ecosystem conversion, responsible for over 60% of global deforestation from high-risk commodities between 2001-2015. Mighty Earth’s scorecard reveals how supermarket and fast-food companies are performing against their promises to stop destroying forests. Companies are evaluated on three criteria: policy commitment, monitoring & verification, and public reporting on progress.

Key findings include:

  • Despite the outsized destruction generated by the cattle sector, only four companies – Tesco (65/100), Marks & Spencer (62/100), Carrefour (61/100), and McDonald’s (54/100) – have begun to implement their deforestation and conversion-free (DCF) commitments for beef products.
  • Tesco – at only 65 out of a possible 100 points – was the best performer, followed by Marks & Spencer (62/100) in second place. The two companies were the only ones to demonstrate effective use of the ‘suspend and engage’ approach with their beef suppliers, having cut contracts with non-compliant suppliers and prioritized sourcing from low-risk suppliers.
  • Rewe (9/100), Aldi Süd (14/100), Ahold Delhaize (19/100), and Auchan Retail (24/100) were the worst performing companies according to the scorecard.
  • Most efforts to stop native ecosystem destruction in the beef industry are concentrated in Brazil’s Amazon and do not address other ecosystems, despite increasing evidence that the problem has spread to the Pantanal, Cerrado, the Gran Chaco region of Paraguay and Argentina, the Chiquitania in Bolivia, and even parts of Australia.

The scorecard also provides comprehensive recommendations for steps food companies can take to improve their performance. These recommendations include:

  • No-deforestation policy commitments must apply to all products globally, have a clear date for achieving compliance, include protections for all ecosystems beyond just forests, and have a clear cut-off date after which new deforestation will be considered a violation of the policy.
  • Implementing internal systems for monitoring the performance and compliance of beef suppliers, which includes a ‘suspend and engage’ protocol for non-compliant suppliers.
  • Require beef suppliers to provide data needed to evaluate performance, including full traceability information back to the farm level.
  • Report regularly on progress, including volumes of conversion-free beef, percent of supply chain that is fully traceable back to the farm level, and disclose a list of all beef suppliers.


Bolivia leaders and international organizations join forces to rescue Bolivian forests


Over the past five years, 600 civil society leaders and Bolivian organizations signed El Pacto del Bosque. Today they are joined by more than 20 international organizations that agree on the urgent need to find real solutions to stop the alarming deforestation rate in Bolivia (FCBC Report). Deforestation is the leading cause of the massive forest fires that ravaged more than 9 million hectares of protected national parks and forests in the Department of Santa Cruz between 2019 and 2020 (FAN Report). The Chiquitano Dry Forest, the largest tropical dry forest on the continent, has been severely affected by the deforestation linked to agriculture and cattle ranching and the increase in irregular human settlements.

Among the different international organizations endorsing El Pacto del Bosque are Action for Bolivia, Birdlife International, Canopée - Forets Vivantes, Changing Markets, Comissão Pastoral da Terra - Brasil, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), Dogwood Alliance, Earthworm Foundation, Envol Vert, France Nature Environnement (FNE), Global Witness, Justice and Environment, National Wildlife Federation, Notre Affaire à Tous, NRDC, Mighty Earth, Rainforest Foundation USA, Reclaim Finance, Rights and Resources Initiative, Seattle Avocats, Tropenbos International, and ZERO - Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável.

The alarming deforestation rate in Bolivia has raised the interest of well-known personalities, including journalists, historians, artists, environmentalists, indigenous leaders, businessmen, citizens, and scientists who have joined forces behind El Pacto del Bosque. This initiative is led by the grassroots organization El Llamado del Bosque, which urgently seeks to find agreements, build strategic alliances and engage in actions intended to conserve the country's natural heritage.

"We need industry to offer sustainable agricultural products that preserve fragile ecosystems. There’s a growing international market for these commodities, free of fires and deforestation, with high demand and high profit margins. It’s important to learn from successful examples of agreements between government, industry, and civil society in South America that have managed to stop the destruction of the country's natural heritage and biodiversity without undermining the country’s' agro-export potential," said Gina Méndez, founder of the organization El Llamado del Bosque.

In 2006, the leading soy traders in Brazil, the Brazilian government and civil society signed an agreement to prevent the expansion of soy production in the Amazon rainforest. This agreement allowed for the expansion of soybean cultivation, doubling from 1.35 to 3.65 million hectares (2008-2015), without causing further deforestation since production only expanded on to previously cleared land.

"With massive support from significant Bolivian stakeholders, and now with the ample support of environmental organizations in Europe and the United States, we publicly invite the country's soybean and cattle sector bodies, ANAPO, CAO and FEGASACRUZ, to join this open dialogue that seeks a long-lasting solution for an urgent problem: the destruction of the Chiquitano Dry Forest, the largest and best-conserved forest of the continent," concluded Méndez.

European companies are also beginning to closely monitor for responsible and deforestation-free agricultural production to meet the growing demand of its consumers.

"The voracious appetite of European consumers is fueling the destruction of the jungles and forests of South America. However, and thanks to the work of civil society organizations, European citizens are increasingly aware of the negative impacts of their consumption patterns. They are beginning to demand deforestation-free products from supermarkets and restaurants. We believe that Bolivian farmers and cattle ranchers have a unique opportunity to protect the Chiquitano Dry Forest and guarantee a deforestation-free production," said Nico Muzi, Europe Director of the global environmental organization Mighty Earth, one of the signatory organizations.

Ramping Up Pressure on ADM & Bunge’s Board to Cut Off Deforestation

Ramping Up Pressure on ADM & Bunge’s Board to Cut Off Deforestation 

Shareholders at two of the world’s largest agribusiness companies- ADM and Bunge- have filed shareholder proposals calling for transformational changes to end destruction of native ecosystems and related human rights abuses in those companies’ soy supply chains. Mighty Earth has been campaigning for years to hold these companies accountable for stopping deforestation and is calling on ADM and Bunge’s Board to immediately implement the practices necessary to address concerns brought forth by these shareholder proposals.  

ADM and Bunge are two leading agribusinesses, supplying many parts of the world with ingredients such as soy and grains. Many of these ingredients come from farms that cleared large swaths of land to plant industrial crops to export around the world. Both ADM and Bunge made commitments in 2015 to stop further deforestation and related human rights abuses associated with their supply chains. However numerous analyses from Mighty Earth and other leading organizations have found that both companies are failing to fulfil these pledges, particularly in their soy supply chains. Mighty Earth analysis through our Rapid Response program found that out of the major soy exporters, Bunge had the second-largest amount of deforestation in Brazil associated with its soy supply chain between March 2019 and November 2020, and data from Trase shows that Bunge’s total deforestation risk was 51 percent higher than any other soy trader in 2018. Meanwhile ADM had over 6,000 hectares of clearance detected in Brazil through Rapid Response cases in the same time period and nearly all of the clearance is potentially illegal- Similarly, Trase found ADM to have the fourth-highest deforestation risk in 2018 of all soy traders  in Brazil.  

Mighty Earth is working around the world to urge action from ADM and Bunge to stop deforestation. In Europe, Mighty Earth is working with policy makers, the financial sector, and supermarkets across Europe and the UK to develop policies that require soy suppliers to mitigate destruction of native ecosystems. Just two months ago, Mighty Earth helped mobilize a sprawling coalition of some of the world’s largest companies – including McDonalds, Walmart, and Unilever – in sending a letter to ADM, Bunge and other agribusinesses calling on them to stop dealing soy tied to the destruction of the Brazilian Cerrado. In France, Mighty Earth is driving supermarkets to comply with the Duty of Vigilance Law, requiring companies address their environmental and social impacts. As a result, we helped convened the French Zero Deforestation Soy Manifesto, signed by all the largest supermarkets in France, committing them to eliminating deforestation in their soy supply chains 

Groupe LDC, Europe’s largest poultry company, recently joined this effort following campaign pressure from French NGO partner Canopée and Mighty Earth, agreeing to eliminate purchases of soy grown on land cleared after 2020. Banks are following suit, with BNP pledging to stop financing companies linked to deforestation for either soy or beef following campaign pressure from Reclaim Finance, Mighty Earth and other French civil society groups.  

We are also putting pressure on ADM and Bunge’s board members directly to support the shareholder proposal. Our LinkedIn ad campaign targeting staff at both ADM and Bunge urging support for the shareholder proposal that has drawn views from more than 6,623 employees, and our petition has gathered 60,000 signatures so far. We have also sent letters to Board members highlighting the evidence of their companies’ involvement in deforestation and requesting meetings to discuss solutions.  

It is time for ADM and Bunge to fulfil their promises to end the destruction of native ecosystems and related human rights abuses caused by their soy supply chains.  

We are joining shareholders in calling on the Board of Directors at both companies to ensure no-deforestation sourcing policies are immediately implemented and enforced. 

Ending U.S. Companies' Complicity in Illegal Deforestation

Today, Mighty Earth joined with a number of civil society organizations to call on Congress and the Biden-Harris administration to "pass legislation to prevent agricultural commodities produced on illegally deforested land from entering the U.S. market and establish due diligence requirements on relevant commodity imports." Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) has just announced plans to introduce a bill that would take these steps.

In response, Mighty Earth Campaign Director Rose Garr released the following statement:

"U.S. companies have been complicit in driving deforestation, climate change, and mass extinctions around the world by importing agricultural products that come from illegally deforested lands. Senator Schatz's bill is a landmark piece of legislation that would require companies to understand where their products are coming from. It's just common sense that companies should only be selling legally-produced goods to Americans. In an age of transparency and accountability, it’s simply no longer acceptable for companies to claim ignorance about the origins of their products.

“Additionally, we are encouraged by the aid and incentives included in this bill. We can and should offer a helping hand to our allies. The financial and technical help in Senator Schatz’s bill will help rebuild the sort of international partnerships we need to tackle the global climate crisis."

Amazon indigenous communities and international NGOs sue supermarket giant Casino/Pão de Açúcar/Éxito over deforestation and human rights violations

Amazon indigenous communities and international NGOs sue supermarket giant Casino/Pão de Açúcar/Éxito over deforestation and human rights violations 

Indigenous groups to seek compensation for damages in first case brought against retail chain under groundbreaking French law to prevent social and environmental violations in supply chains 

March 3, 2020: Indigenous peoples from the Brazilian and Colombian Amazon and non-governmental organizations from France and the US today filed a lawsuit in the Saint-Etienne court against global retail giant Groupe Casino over selling beef products linked to deforestation and land grabbing.

This is the first time a supermarket chain is taken to court over deforestation and human rights violations under the French due diligence law adopted in March 2017 (“loi sur le devoir de vigilance” in French). Indigenous groups claim compensation for damages done to their customary lands and the impact on their livelihoods.

Environmental destruction and human rights violations

The lawsuit alleges systemic violations of human rights and environmental laws in Groupe Casino’s supply chains in Brazil and Colombia over a long period of time. According to evidence compiled and analysed by the Center for Climate Crime Analysis (CCCA) for this case, Groupe Casino regularly bought beef from three slaughterhouses owned by JBS, a giant meatpacker. The three slaughterhouses sourced cattle from 592 suppliers responsible for at least 50,000 hectares of deforestation between 2008 and 2020 (1). The deforested area is five times the size of Paris.

Evidence submitted in this lawsuit also shows violations of indigenous rights. In one of the documented cases, customary land owned and managed by the Uru Eu Wau Wau community in the State of Rondônia, Brazil was invaded and put into production by cattle farms supplying beef to Casino’s Pão de Açúcar.

Groupe Casino’s responsibility

Despite numerous media reports linking Groupe Casino’s products to deforestation and land grabbing, the company has failed to overhaul its monitoring and enforcement policies to ensure there’s no environmental or human rights violations in its entire supply chain. The company has dared to write to the plaintiffs that “due to the low number of reports mentioning cattle as a driver of deforestation in Colombia” Casino doesn’t consider it relevant to include the country in the scope of their due diligence plan. Yet, Colombia has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, with cattle being the main cause (2).

In spite of the ever-growing body of evidence linking the world’s biggest meat company, JBS, to deforestation and even slave labour (3), Casino Group still buys from JBS. Furthermore, Groupe Casino has failed to commit to only sell zero-deforestation nor zero-conversion meat in their Pão de Açúcar, Casino or Grupo Éxito stores.

Groupe Casino is the largest supermarket chain in Brazil and Colombia through its brands Pão de Açúcar and Grupo Éxito respectively. Casino’s South American operations account for nearly half (47%) of the group’s global revenues.

France’s Duty of Vigilance law requires France-based companies with over 5,000 employees to take adequate and effective measures to prevent serious human rights and environmental violations in their entire supply chains. Should they fail to do so, they may be held liable and ordered to pay damages.

Amazon’s tipping point

Cattle ranching is the main driver of deforestation in South America, in particular in Brazil. According to Brazil’s space agency (INPE), deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has surged to a 12-year high. The Amazon is in danger of reaching a tipping point of switching from a canopy rainforest to open grassland.

Last December, the Brazilian government removed any measure to tackle deforestation in the national climate action plan (known as an NDC) under the Paris Agreement, although forest loss continues to be the main source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country.

Comments from the plaintiffs

The plaintiffs in this lawsuit include the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), the National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC), the Federation of Indigenous Peoples of Pará (FEPIPA), the Federation of Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of Mato Grosso (FEPOIMT), Pastoral Commission of the Earth (CPT), Canopée, Envol Vert, France Nature Environnement, Mighty Earth, Notre Affaire à Tous and Sherpa.

The breadth and diversity of the coalition is testament to the global footprint and the variety of impacts caused by industrial beef production as well as the need for a collective defense.

Luis Eloy Terena of the Terena people of Brazil, legal advisor at COIAB said: “It is important for COIAB to be part of this lawsuit because the Brazilian Amazon falls within purview for action in defense of the constitutional rights and guarantees of the indigenous peoples who live here. We are responsible as well for defending isolated or initially contacted peoples. As we make clear in the complaint, the demand for beef by Casino and Pão de Açúcar brings deforestation and land grabbing and violence, and the murder of indigenous leaders when they choose to resist. With this lawsuit, we seek to hold  the company accountable for the consequences of these impacts and to bring some relief to the reality confronted by our Indigenous Peoples on their Lands.”

Fany Kuiru Castro of the Uitoto people of Colombia, director at OPIAC said: “Cattle ranching, monocultures and other extractive industries are putting our lives at risk and exterminating indigenous peoples. Therefore this legal action over neglecting the demands in the meat supply chain, which come from cattle ranching, is fully supported by our organization.” 

Boris Patentreger, co-founder of Envol Vert, said: “In 2021, in a world where we can technically trace and monitor everything, an international group called Casino, which has seen tremendous growth in South America in the last years, fails to eliminate deforestation from all its supply chain. That’s unacceptable!”

Lucie Chatelain, lawyer at Sherpa, said: “The number of deforestation and human rights abuses cases that have been documented in Casino’s supply chain in Brazil shows that its alleged vigilance measures are neither adequate, nor effective. Sherpa successfully advocated for years for the adoption of the French Duty of Vigilance Law and this case is emblematic of the violations that it precisely aims to avoid.”

Sebastien Mabile, lawyer of Seattle Avocats, said: “This lawsuit will demonstrate the breadth and depth of France’s Duty of Vigilance law, which applies to the entire supply chain, both in France and abroad. The law imposes on multinational corporations actions to prevent breaches proportional to the risks identified, as well as strict social and judiciary controls. The seriousness of the violations documented in this case leads us to initiate the first liability action on the basis of this text.”

Nico Muzi, Europe director of Mighty Earth, said: “JBS is not only the largest meat company in the world but it’s also one of the worst forest destroyers in Brazil. For this reason Groupe Casino must drop JBS altogether. But we also call on other leading European supermarkets such as Carrefour, Tesco, Albert Heijn and Lidl to break their links to deforestation and drop JBS, the slaughter of the Amazon.

Cecilia Rinaudo, general coordinator of Notre Affaire à Tous, said: “This case is a tragic example of the interdependence between the environment and human rights, both protected by the Duty of diligence law. Casino only identifies slave labour as an associated risk in their supply chain without taking any measure to eradicate it. Moreover, the firm failed to identify land grabbing as a threat to human rights despite many reports on this well-known issue. Casino cannot stay passive and must adopt concrete measures to prevent these major risks.”

Adeline Favrel, forest campaign coordinator of France Nature Environnement, said: “France adopted the Duty of Vigilance law in 2017 and the National Strategy Against Imported Deforestation in 2018. These public policies must be translated into concrete actions by companies like Casino to finally stop deforestation.”

Klervi Le Guenic, campaigner of Canopée said: “Casino is not the only retailer responsible, they all have the power to change things. Carrefour is one of the largest retailers in Brazil and is also particularly exposed to deforestation risks. They have to ditch the meat companies linked to Amazon destruction.” 

Notes to the Editor:

  1. Last week, investigative journalism group Reporter Brasil published a new report showing that the three largest supermarket chains in Brazil Casino’s Pão de Açúcar, Carrefour and Grupo Big have sold beef from mega-farms that illegally cleared thousands of hectares of forests.
  2. Report on deforestation fronts, 2021
  3. Historically, commercial activity in rural areas in Brazil have been responsible for slavery and forced labour. The sector with the highest number of cases of slavery is cattle farming. According to the Comissao Pastoral da Terra and Brazil’s federal government data, almost half (47%) of the slave labour cases identified between 2003 and 2020 are linked to the cattle sector. The latest Reporter Brasil’s investigation traced most slave labour cases to JBS slaughterhouses, key supplier to Casino’s Pão de Açúcar.

Coalition members:

OPIAC (Organización Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas de la Amazonia Colombiana) is the Colombian Indigenous organization of the Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon before national and international institutions. Its main objective is to ensure that all the collective and individual rights of its members are respected and recognized by all actors located in the Colombian Amazon region.

COIAB (Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon) founded on April 19, 1989, is the largest regional indigenous organization in Brazil, which emerged on the initiative of leaders of indigenous organizations. The mission of COIAB is to defend the rights of indigenous peoples to land, health, education, culture and sustainability, taking into account the diversity of peoples and seeking their autonomy through political articulation and the strengthening of indigenous organizations.

FEPIPA (Federation of Indigenous Peoples of Pará) founded in April 2016, is an indigenous organization, created to promote the social, political, economic and cultural well-being and human rights of indigenous peoples. It aims to defend and discuss the collective interests of the indigenous peoples and communities of the State of Pará, promoting their social, cultural, economic and political organization, strengthening their autonomy.

FEPOIMT (Federation of Indigenous Peoples of Mato Grosso) created in June 2016 was born from the need to unite for political action and articulation, aimed at the social, cultural, economic organisation and the sustainable and political development of Indigenous Peoples and organisations of Mato Grosso. Its main challenges are the guarantee and regularization of land, environmental management, protection of the territory and the fight for Indigenous rights.

CPT (Pastoral Commission of the Earth) is part of the Pastoral Commissions of the Conference of Bishops of Brazil. It was created to defend the peasants and ensure a supportive and fraternal presence among the rural populations. Present in many dioceses, it is committed to the crucial issue of sharing the land and against the destruction of the environment.

Envol Vert acts for the preservation of forests and biodiversity in Latin America (mainly Colombia and Peru) and in France. Since 2011, we have been developing concrete and effective field projects that include the reforestation of degraded areas, the development of agroforestry and alternatives to illegal logging such as ecotourism, the development of nature reserves, conservation, and reintroduction of species. Envol Vert also conducts communication campaigns and awareness-raising actions to encourage businesses and citizens to change their production and consumption patterns.

Mighty Earth is a global environmental campaign organization that works to protect forests, conserve oceans, and address climate change. We work to drive large-scale action towards environmentally responsible agriculture that protects native ecosystems, wildlife, and water, and respects local community rights. Our campaigns and our team have played a leading role in persuading the world’s largest food and agriculture companies to adopt policies to eliminate deforestation and human rights abuse from their supply chains, and driven adoption of multi-billion dollar shifts to clean energy.

Notre Affaire à Tous is an association that works to protect life, the natural commons and the climate through the use of law. Coming from the movement for the recognition of the crime of ecocide in international law in order to punish the most serious crimes against the environment and at the origin of the “Affair of the Century,” the members of Notre Affaire à Tous position themselves as “advocates for the planet”, seeking to establish through case law, legal advocacy, and citizen mobilization an effective and objective responsibility of humans towards the environment.

Seattle Avocats is a law firm specializing in issues of corporate liability for environmental and human rights violations. Mr. Sébastien Mabile and Mr. François de Cambiaire represent NGOs and communities within the framework of the first actions brought on the basis of the law on the duty of vigilance of companies, in particular against Total and against the transport group XPO Logistics, and are interested in particular to the debates underway at international and European level on the social and criminal responsibility of multinationals. With regard to particularly serious damage to the environment having equally serious consequences on the rights of Indigenous populations, the Seattle Avocats law firm provides its support and expertise to the international coalition of associations which call on the Casino group to stand by. comply with the law on the duty of vigilance.

Sherpa is an association created in 2001 whose mission is to fight new forms of impunity linked to globalization and to defend communities that are victims of economic crimes. Sherpa works to put the law at the service of a fairer globalization. The action of the association is based on four interdependent tools: research, litigation, advocacy and capacity building. These actions are carried out by a team of jurists and lawyers. Sherpa’s activities have helped compensate communities affected by economic crimes, and have contributed to historic court rulings against multinational companies and groundbreaking legislative policies.

Canopée Forets Vivantes is a new organization founded in 2018 which surges from the critical need to build a citizen counter-power to better protect forests in France and in the world. We are a bell-ringer association that reports the threats on forests. We not only report, what we want is acting at the root of the issues by producing a quality counter-expertise and bringing it to the public space. Canopée is a member of Friends of the Earth and of the group SOS Forêt.

France Nature Environment is the French federation of Voluntary Organizations for nature preservation and environmental protection. We bring together 3 500 French NGOs, across 53 organizations in French mainland and overseas territories. Since 1968, we have been fighting for ecological transition by leading citizen mobilization. We raise public awareness through environmental education. We are constantly striving to improve environmental law. We regularly contribute to French and European public policies for better environmental regulations. Through whistleblowing, we make sure they actually are enforced.

Europe’s largest poultry company pledges to stop buying soy from deforested land in the Cerrado after 2020


The biggest chicken producer in Europe, Groupe LDC, has adopted new measures to stop buying soy linked to deforestation in Brazil. This is yet another announcement that increases pressure on global soy traders.

Following the joint campaign of NGOs Mighty Earth and Canopée, Groupe LDC has just announced that it will now ask its suppliers for detailed traceability and the exclusion of soy cultivated on deforested or converted land after January 1, 2020 in Brazil’s Cerrado region.

The company pledge is a good first step but it is not sufficient, explains Klervi Le Guenic, campaigner at French NGO Canopée. Le Guenic said: “The Groupe LDC’s commitment is a very clear signal for soy traders, but it must be followed by actions. LDC must suspend commercial relations with traders if they continue to be complicit with deforestation. We will be watching the company very closely as it is subject to France’s due diligence law and hence has the legal obligation to prevent and mitigate any risk associated with deforestation in its supply chain."

Nico Muzi, Europe director at Mighty Earth, said: “The noose is tightening on soy traders who hold the key to halt deforestation in the Cerrado. So far soy traders Cargill and Bunge have refused to be transparent and exclude massive soy producers responsible for the destruction of forests. The drip, drip, drip of commitments from key French industrial players is changing the situation.” 

Following the commitment of supermarket chains back in November, this is yet another major player in the agri-food sector that commits to deforestation-free soy and asks the government to speed up the implementation of a mechanism for managing deforestation risks linked to soy imports. In fact, today, there is no transparency on the origin of soy imports, even though this information is available to the government.

In September 2020, Canopée submitted to Bérangère Abba, France’s Secretary of State for Biodiversity, a report by the Scientific and Technical Committee on Forests with concrete proposals to stop imports of high-risk soy. The report recommended increasing corporate responsibility and greater transparency on customs and satellite data to identify traders complicit with deforestation.

Sylvain Angerand, who coordinated this report, said: “Many actors are ready to put an end to deforestation but a public policy cannot be built on the sum of voluntary commitments. The government must build on this momentum to improve access to information and strengthen the accountability obligations of all companies at national and European level.”

To meet the ever-growing demand for meat, France massively imports soy, mainly from Brazil. But entire chunks of forests in Brazil are cleared and replaced by soy crops, particularly in the Cerrado region. Almost 50% of the soy imported for animal feed is used for poultry (chickens and laying hens). The company uses hundreds of thousands of tons ofsoy from Brazil to produce its 750 000 tons of poultry each year in France.

BNP Paribas gives soy-linked deforestation a five-year free pass

France's largest bank BNP Paribas today announced measures to stop financing deforestation linked to soy and cattle in Brazil by 2025 (1).
  • Given the high stakes, BNP’s initiative is welcomed. But the goals set are far too late while BNP Paribas fails to explain how it will achieve the targets;

  • Reclaim Finance, Canopée Forêts Vivantes, SumOfUs and Mighty Earth call on BNP Paribas to no longer spare giants like Cargill - one of the soy traders most linked to deforestation - even if it means ceasing all financial support to the agribusiness;

  • BNP Paribas is Cargill’s largest financier, with $4 billion in funding provided between 2016 and 2019.

Soy and beef are two of the largest drivers of deforestation in the world, particularly in the biodiverse-rich regions of Cerrado and the Amazon in Brazil. BNP commits to immediately drop companies that continue clearing forests or converting land in the Amazon. However, apart from cattle mega-farms, a few companies will be affected given that a moratorium banning deforestation linked to soy after 2008 already exists and has been very effective in halting soy-driven deforestation in the Amazon. Thus, the ambition of BNP Paribas measures must be judged based on the targets set to protect the Cerrado.

BNP Paribas commits to provide "financial products or services only to companies with strategies to achieve zero deforestation in their production and supply chains by 2025 at the latest". But the bank says it is only ready to encourage (not force) companies operating in the Cerrado not to produce or buy beef or soybeans from land converted after the cut-off date of 1st January of 2020, a date set by the Accountability Framework Initiative (2).

Lucie Pinson, founder and director of Reclaim Finance, said: “Some would say we won 5 years because many traders like Cargill have policies that aim for zero deforestation by 2030. But after years of inaction, there is an urgent need to demand firm and immediate commitments to implement the 2020 cut-off date. If BNP Paribas wants to give real guarantees of its commitment to act in the face of the climate emergency and biodiversity loss, it must secure this commitment on the part of traders and then support them on a deadline of two years, not five years.

Faced with the explosion in demand for soy, due to population growth and of the middle classes, as well as by the ever-increasing consumption of meat and dairy products, Cerrado is today one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet. More than half of its initial area has already been cleared. If the Cerrado is entirely wiped out, it would be a disaster for the climate and biodiversity as it stores the equivalent of 13.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) and is home to 5% of the world's biodiversity (3).

Klervi Le Guenic, campaigner at Canopée Forêts Vivantes, said: “BNP Paribas has understood the importance of imposing a cut-off date on soy traders, but no immediate demand is made to guarantee improved practices over the next few years. As it stands, BNP Paribas is giving traders 5 more years to clear forests with impunity”.

Cargill is Brazil's second largest soy exporter and has been linked to mega-farms that have cleared more than 61,000 hectares of forests in Brazil since March 2019. The area deforested is six times the city of Paris (4).

Nico Muzi, Europe director at Mighty Earth, said: “BNP Paribas’ announcement sends a strong signal to soy traders: big global banks are starting to realize the risks associated with soy-driven deforestation and are taking concrete actions to exclude bad players. Cargill needs to stop deforestation now; to that end, turning off the money tap now, not in five years’ time, is essential.”

Leyla Larbi, campaign manager at SumOfUs, said: “More than 125,000 people have already signed a petition calling on BNP Paribas to stop bankrolling deforestation. We will keep up the pressure on BNP Paribas, Cargill's main financier and one of the biggest bankers funding the destruction of the living world, as long as the bank does not revise its plans upwards ”(5).


Version en français

Notes to Editors:

  1. BNP Paribas announcement:

  2. Accountability Framework Initiative: Guidance for setting cutoff dates for no-deforestation and no-conversion commitments

  3. Soja et déforestation, les acteurs financiers ne doivent plus être complices, Canopée Forêts Vivantes, Mighty Earth, Reclaim Finance et SumOfUs, October 2020.

  4. Mighty Earth’s Soy and Cattle Deforestation Tracker

  5. See the petition: BNP Paribas: Stop bankrolling deforestation

Investigation reveals: three of the biggest US grocery chains sell Brazilian beef produced by a controversial meat company linked to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest

Exclusive: US chains Walmart, Costco and Kroger selling Brazilian beef produced by JBS linked to destruction of Brazilian rainforest

A Guardian investigation uncovers that Walmart, Costco Wholesale, and Kroger are selling beef from the most notorious deforester in Brazil, despite corruption and worse.

“Supermarkets need to go beyond their sustainability rhetoric by setting strict requirements for their suppliers, banning deforestation, monitoring their suppliers for compliance, and dropping contracts with the worst offenders like JBS,” said Mighty Earth.

Read the full story here.

Sign our petition to tell Costco: stop making American consumers complicit in buying the deforestation of the Amazon and get deforestation off our plates.

For more information on how cattle and soy companies like JBS and Cargill are linked to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado, please visit our Soy and Cattle Deforestation Tracker.

Sustainable Soy in Brazil is Possible – Why are Soy Traders Blocking it?

This letter by Sarah Lake, Mighty Earth's Vice-President and Global Director for Latin America, was published in the Financial Times on December 21, 2020.

The letter Brazil’s farmers should be paid not penalised (December 18) highlights the continued misrepresentation of joint efforts for forest and land protections in Brazil.

The Brazilian government commitment to sustainability is woefully insufficient and the latest data from the Brazilian space agency confirms it: a 12-year high for deforestation in the Amazon.

Now, the largest soy traders in Brazil and the industry association representing them, Abiove, have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to protect vital ecosystems in Brazil, and they are throwing it away. For nearly four years, the largest soy traders have been in negotiations with a coalition of Brazilian NGOs to create an industry-wide system to avoid further savanna conversion in the Cerrado – an effort that has been widely applauded.

The joint efforts for the Cerrado meet all the demands of Ambassador Arruda and the soy traders. It includes compensation for farmers who protect forests and grasslands on their property, with over US$20 million already committed from international buyers. It details how soy production can triple in size by utilizing previously cleared land that is readily available. And it builds on the existing commitments of the soy traders in the Amazon to go beyond Brazilian legal requirements that have led to the dire state we face today.

So, the question is not if, or how, Brazilian farmers can sustainably produce soy and be paid for their efforts. Instead, the question is: when will soy traders take advantage of the opportunity before them and provide a sustainable future for Brazilian farmers.