New Investigation Links One of Germany’s Largest Poultry Producers to Forest Destruction in Latin America

Today, a new report released by Mighty Earth and Robin Wood revealed strong evidence that Rothkötter, one of Germany’s largest poultry producers, is buying soy from two companies – Cargill and Bunge – driving illegal forest destruction in Latin America.

The report, Raubbau für Geflügelfleisch or Germany: Meet your Meat, calls on Rothkötter to remove soy harvested on deforested land from its supply chain. In response, environmentalists have gathered at a feed plant owned by Rothkötter in Lower Saxony, Germany, to protest the company.

Rothkötter is a major poultry supplier, “producing” 3.5 million chicks every week for customers including supermarkets and fast food chains like Lidl, Aldi Sud, and Netto Marken-Discount. It has been estimated that one out of every three chickens consumed in Germany comes from Rothkötter.

Using satellite mapping and vessel and navigation data, our team documented ships traveling from Cargill and Bunge facilities in Amsterdam to Rothkötter’s main feed plant in Eurohafen, Germany. While vessel tracking was unable to distinguish between Cargill and Bunge facilities, both companies are notorious for driving massive deforestation for soy across Latin America. Earlier this year the Brazilian government’s IBAMA environmental enforcement agency caught Cargill and Bunge purchasing soy from areas under embargo due to illegal deforestation.

In January 2018, Mighty Earth and Robin Wood asked key German meat producers, including Rothkötter, whether they purchase soy from Bunge or Cargill and demanded the implementation of supply chain traceability systems. Rothkötter declined to answer the inquiry.

While both Cargill and Bunge have published sustainability policies committing otherwise, their supply chain continues to drive deforestation by resisting efforts to expand deforestation-free production. And they have found willing buyers in Germany, where their soy is used by food and meat processers to feed chickens, pigs and cattle to produce meat, eggs and dairy products sold in German supermarkets and restaurants.

“Rothkötter must take immediate action to remove soy deforestation from the company’s supply chain,” said Mighty Earth Campaign Director Anahita Yousefi. “By associating with Cargill and Bunge, Rothkötter is complicit in forest destruction and human rights violations in Latin America.”

The report pressures Rothkötter’s customers to halt all business relations with the poultry producer until the company commits to only source sustainable soy for animal feed.

"Aldi Süd, Lidl and the parent company of Netto Marken-Discount, Edeka, have all committed to 100 percent sustainable soy feed. As customers of Rothkötter, both their commitment to sustainability and their credibility are at stake,” said Tina Lutz, tropical forest advisor to Robin Wood. “These companies can no longer hide behind their private labels to sell Rothkötter meat.”

Governments failing to tackle meat over-consumption to meet climate targets

A new report from the Changing Markets Foundation and Mighty Earth reveals that there is a complete lack of public policies in place to ensure the food sector is part of the solution to climate change.

In many EU countries and in the US, meat consumption is more than double the recommended levels for healthy diets. However, the report, Growing the Good:

The Case for Low Carbon Transition in the Food Sector, points to the fact that government policies universally support unsustainable agricultural production systems dominated by intensive meat and dairy farmers and producers.

In contrast, the report highlights positive market trends, notably the growth of plant-based foods and ground-breaking innovation in meat alternatives. The number of vegans and vegetarians is also growing rapidly[1][2] and many more people, particularly among the younger generations, are reducing their meat intake. Instead of fuelling such societal trends, politicians are succumbing to pressure from meat producers by introducing new legislative measures aiming to restrict market growth for alternatives, such as the recent French ban on terms like ‘vegan burger’.

Nusa Urbancic, Campaigns Director at the Changing Markets Foundation, commented:

“The lack of public policies in this sector is alarming. If meat and dairy consumption increases as forecast, there will be almost no room within the total allowable global emissions budget for any sectors other than agriculture by 2050.  

“The window of opportunity to address climate change is closing, while its consequences are already being felt. This year’s droughts resulted in food price increases and even more public subsidies to this polluting sector – mostly to finance feed imports. Unsustainable bail-outs should end, and governments should instead finance the transition towards a low emissions food system with more environmentally friendly farming methods and healthier diets for all.”

Animal agriculture is today responsible for around 16.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, equivalent to the emissions from combustion of all transport fuels. The sector is also responsible for a third of potent methane and nitrous oxide emission. A managed reduction in demand for meat and dairy could increase humanity’s chances to stay below 1.5°C temperature increase and avoid climate the ‘cliff edge’ as highlighted by the last week’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.[3]

Low carbon transition in the food sector is also crucial to reduce the pressure on land. Currently, 70-80% of agricultural land is dedicated to animal agriculture, either directly for grazing or to grow increasing quantities of feed. Reducing the number of animals is key to put this land to use for reforestation, climate sequestration and also to more sustainable farming methods.

Anahita Yousefi, Mighty Earth Campaigns Director, said:

“The complete absence of public policies to promote a shift towards plant-based diets means that this critical dietary shift is left to the whims of the market and personal choice. The public is being forced to foot the bill for environmental impact of animal agriculture and the market is being denied opportunities for more sustainable models of food production and healthier diets.”

Bérénice Dupeux, Policy Officer for Agriculture at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said:
This report is yet more evidence that to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, the agriculture sector needs to significantly reduce meat and dairy production to reduce overall emissions – just as many other industries are doing. The number of extreme climate events is increasing. As this summer’s droughts showed us, we cannot afford to pour money into continuing the type of agriculture that is exacerbating climate change and leave environmental ambition to good will. Given the immense scale of the problem, our political leaders cannot turn a blind eye on climate change and they must address it within the current reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. Farm ministers and MEPs have a moral obligation to put the rights of future generations first.

The Changing Markets Foundation has drafted a series of recommendations to governments around the world to ensure that food production plays its part in the low carbon transition:

  1. Updating climate targets to include the mitigation potential of animal agriculture and to reflect the 1.5 degree temperature increase pathway.
  2. Updating fiscal policies to reduce meat demand and consumption. So-called meat taxes have been recommended by several reputable institutions, as tax on goods deemed to be unhealthy and/or damaging to the environment.
  3. Establishing implementation strategies for dietary guidelines for the shift to healthier diets including the reduction of animal products.
  4. Shifting subsidies away from polluting intensive animal farms and addressing negative externalities of animal agriculture.
  5. Incentivising the production of diverse and underused protein crops, such as pulses, for human consumption.
  6. Funding the research and development of plant-based and other meat alternatives, such as clean meat.

[1] The Vegetarian Resource Group (2016) How many adults in the US are vegetarian and vegan? [Online] Available from:

[2] Chiorando, M. (2017) Veganism Skyrockets by 600% In America To 6% Of Population. Plant Based News [Online] Available from:

[3] Global Warming of 1.5 °C, (October 2018)

Breaking: Soy Giant Louis Dreyfus Announces Zero Deforestation Policy, Throwing Down Gauntlet to Competitors

Today, Louis Dreyfus Company, one of the world’s Big 4 commodity traders, became the first large soy company to announce a specific, credible, detailed policy to eliminate destruction of native ecosystems and endangered wildlife from its soy supply chain, and uphold the rights of local and indigenous communities in the areas in which it operates. This policy sets Louis Dreyfus as a leader in the soy industry in terms of moving towards the deforestation-free soy supply chain that the market is demanding.

“As a leader in agribusiness, LDC has a key role to play in addressing this challenge,” said Gonzalo Ramírez Martiarena, Chief Executive Officer at LDC said in a statement.

Mighty Earth, which has worked with coalition partners like Rainforest Foundation Norway, Fern, ActionAid, published a series of exposés about large scale deforestation connected to soy traders that makes its way into global meat supply chains, hailed the move.

“This is a breakthrough from one of the world’s largest traders with huge significance to the global meat industry,” said Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz. “There’s now no reason for McDonald’s and other companies to continue doing business with deforesters like Cargill and Bunge.”

Also today, UK supermarket chain Tesco also announced a deforestation-free policy for its soy, showing that demand for responsible soy is growing across the supply chain.

“While Tesco’s policy lacks meaningful timelines, we are encouraged that the company has committed to rapidly investigate and take action on its supply chain in response to the Brazilian government’s large fines for Cargill and Bunge for illegal destruction of native vegetation," Hurowitz said. "We hope today’s announcement by Louis Dreyfus convinces Tesco and others they can move much faster.”

Louis Dreyfus’ policy applies to all of its soy supply chains in South America.  This commitment shows that it is possible to expand agriculture on Latin America’s existing one billion-plus acres of already degraded land, instead of clearing intact native vegetation for soy.

“Louis Dreyfus is committing to and has already made progress on providing a verified large scale source of deforestation-free soy for the world,” Hurowitz said. “LDC has shown today that it is possible to source deforestation-free soy on a large scale. We call on the entire meat supply chain to immediately shift their sourcing to responsible suppliers like Louis Dreyfus.”

In its statement, Louis Dreyfus emphasized the importance of other companies also acting to protect native ecosystems.

“We really believe that working together towards [these] goals is most important. Because just as we all face the same challenges, we can only address them if we work together,” said Ramírez Martiarena.

“We’re thrilled that this new policy has been developed by the CEO, board, and key stakeholders throughout the company,” Hurowitz said. “This is the kind of high-level decision making that has been lacking among Louis Dreyfus’ competitors, and is one reason companies like Cargill and Bunge continue to run into huge deforestation and illegality issues that embarrass their customers. Ultimately, we hope that Louis Dreyfus’ action is a wake-up call for its competitors that they need to move rapidly to set up industry-wide action to eliminate destruction of native vegetation

“Louis Dreyfus has made enormous progress in ensuring their supply chain is free of deforestation, but there’s more to do, and they recognize that,” said Hurowitz. “As next steps, the company should list its soy suppliers online, as is already common practice in the palm oil industry, report on their performance, and develop a clear timeline for implementation.”


Breaking: Cargill and Bunge Fined for Destroying Protected Natural Areas

The Brazilian government’s IBAMA environmental enforcement agency announced this week that it has caught red handed five soy traders and dozens of commercial farmers purchasing soy connected to the destruction of protected natural areas.

According to wire reports, the companies caught in IBAMA’s “Operation Soy Sauce” driving illegal deforestation are the American agribusiness giants Cargill and Bunge, as well as ABC Indústria e Comércio SA, JJ Samar Agronegócios Eireli, and Uniggel Proteção de Plantas Ltda. The fines totaled $29 million, or 105.7 reais.

“Again and again, we have warned Cargill and Bunge that they need to stop their large-scale deforestation,” said Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of Mighty Earth. Mighty Earth has conducted a series of undercover investigations that found Cargill and Bunge driving extensive deforestation in Latin America, including in the Cerrado, the region where IBAMA identified these companies engaged in illegal ecosystem clearance. Footage, including aerial drone videos showing the vast scope of deforestation, from the Cerrado field investigation can be found here. “Despite years of evidence and calls from their customers for change, Cargill and Bunge have continued to drive destruction of these extraordinary natural ecosystems.

“Bunge and Cargill have dishonestly told their customers and the public that the Brazilian government doesn’t want stronger conservation measures, even after the Brazilian environmental minister called for them to stop deforestation in the Cerrado in 2016. This action shows that the Brazilian government continues to want these American companies to stop exploiting their land and people.”

61 major soy end users, including McDonald’s, Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour, Unilever, and Nestle recently issued a formal call to soy and meat companies to stop all destruction of the Cerrado.

“McDonald’s, Carrefour and other companies that sell meat and dairy need to be asked why they are still selling products raised on soy from Cargill or Bunge, when these companies have driven so much destruction,” Hurowitz said. “Companies like McDonald’s and Carrefour that sell products connected to Cargill and Bunge are aiding and abetting their criminal activity. Responsible meat companies shouldn’t make their customers complicit in environmental crimes with every bit of a Big Mac.”

The Cerrado is home to five percent of the world’s biodiversity, including species facing serious threats like jaguar, giant anteater, maned wolf, and marsh deer. The region is also critical for humans, providing the source for half of Brazil’s watershed, and 90 percent of its hydropower.

According to Reuters, Bunge responded to the law enforcement action by saying that “its grain purchases in the area where it was fined are in line with best practices and that it had consulted public databases on banned areas.”

“Bunge is defending itself by saying it thought it thought destroying these areas was legal. The Brazilian government clearly doesn’t agree,” Hurowitz said. “But if Bunge just took the simple step of banning all deforestation in its supply chain, it wouldn’t be facing these risks at all.”

New Investigation Finds Vast Deforestation, Fires, Public Health Impacts Driven By European Meat Industry

New Investigation Finds Vast Deforestation, Fires, Public Health Impacts Driven By European Meat Industry

A new investigation by Mighty Earth, Rainforest Foundation Norway, and Fern reveals large-scale deforestation, fires, and human rights abuses in Argentina and Paraguay’s Gran Chaco connected to the global meat industry. The findings are documented in “The Avoidable Crisis” report released today, revealing how major meat and soy companies are unnecessarily driving extensive deforestation for soy, which is transported around the world to raise livestock.

Europe imports the majority of its soy from Latin America, which was about 27.9 million tons of soy and soybean products in 2016. This soy is sent to feed and meat processors and used to raise the livestock for the chicken, pork, beef, eggs, and dairy sold by many European supermarkets and restaurants. Companies like Carrefour, Lidl, Marks & Spencer and Aldi have a responsibility to ensure to their customers that they are not selling meat or dairy raised on this soy.

Our investigation found links to American agribusinesses, Cargill and Bunge, two of the primary companies driving many of these harmful practices. These companies import large quantities of soy into Europe. We previously documented Cargill and Bunge driving massive deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Cerrado and Bolivian Amazon Basin in an earlier investigation. These companies have resisted efforts to expand deforestation-free production.



For the investigation, the researchers used satellite mapping to identify areas of ongoing, rapid deforestation and found large areas of the Gran Chaco biome being cleared and burned for soy production. The Gran Chaco is an extraordinarily biodiverse ecosystem, home to native species such as the jaguar, screaming hairy armadillo, and giant anteater, as well as indigenous communities like the Ayoreo, Chamacoco, Enxet, Guarayo and many others.

The research field team visited twenty sites in the Chaco undergoing deforestation for soy. The team documented the destruction by aerial drone, as well as on-the-ground interviews with farmers and local community members. The team encountered massive soy plantations, fires set to level native forests and vegetation, and burnt and cleared habitats. See here for images and videos from the investigation (all images are available for download and use).  

“The level of destruction was astounding. We documented bulldozers in action clearing large areas of intact forests and grasslands, as well as huge fires billowing smoke into the air,” said Mighty Earth Policy Director Anahita Yousefi. “While the Gran Chaco has traditionally received less attention than other biomes like the Brazilian Amazon, it’s a vitally important ecosystem and there’s no reason to destroy it.”

Hidden Middlemen

The investigation found that American agribusinesses Cargill and Bunge, the two companies we documented driving massive deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Cerrado and Bolivian Amazon Basin in a previous investigation, were also identified as major purchasers of this soy. Both Cargill and Bunge have public sustainability policies, but when we contacted them about our report findings, they failed to provide any information about the level of traceability in their supply chain. Without sufficient traceability, these companies cannot know the true origin of the soy they purchase. Cargill and Bunge have failed to put in place meaningful mechanisms to ensure that they are not driving these harmful practices.

“As long as the soy traders don’t take immediate action to end deforestation, it becomes the responsibility of companies within the meat industry, retailers and investors to demand that the soy traders guarantee deforestation-free soy. Investors like the Norwegian Pension Fund Global should take strong action towards portfolio company Bunge because of their repeated failure to address deforestation,” said Rainforest Foundation Norway’s policy advisor, Ida Breckan Claudi.

Human Impact

In addition to the environmental destruction, the team found significant public health impacts and social conflicts driven by this industrial soy production. Many of the communities living near these plantations, including indigenous peoples who fully depend on the forest, have had their land encroached upon by  new soy plantations, and in many cases have been forced off of the land their families have lived on for generations. In addition, these communities have experienced sharp increases in public health issues like cancers, birth defects, miscarriages, and other illnesses linked to the heavy pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate used to grow soy, often sprayed by planes directly overhead.

“The EU is a leading importer of commodities grown on land that has been illegally cleared of its forests. This is disastrous for forests, people and the climate. The heavy use of pesticides in producing these commodities is also seriously damaging peoples’ health. The EU has regulated its imports of illegally sourced timber and fish.  It is time for it to do the same with forest risk commodities, so that they are free from deforestation, land grabs and other human rights abuses,” said Nicole Polsterer, Fern’s consumption campaigner.

A Proven Alternative

Ultimately, the destruction happening in the Gran Chaco of Argentina and Paraguay is completely avoidable. There are more than 650 million hectares of previously cleared land across Latin America, where agriculture could expand without threatening native ecosystems. In Brazil, the soy industry, including Cargill and Bunge, implemented the Brazilian Soy Moratorium more than a decade ago. This system shifts new production to already cleared lands and has been extremely successful in almost entirely eliminating deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Amazon. Unfortunately, this initiative has been confined just to the Brazilian Amazon, allowing deforestation to continue at scale in Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia, and the Brazilian Cerrado.  

Mighty Earth, RFN, Fern,  and a coalition of other organization are calling on soy companies to immediately extend this success in eliminating deforestation to other soy-growing regions in Latin America, including the Gran Chaco, as well as the Bolivian Amazon and Brazilian Cerrado.

Support for Cerrado Manifesto Triples, Momentum Builds for Cargill and Bunge to Agree to End Deforestation for Soy, Meat

61 leading meat, dairy and soy companies and retailers announced today their support for the Cerrado Manifesto, a pledge to eliminate clearance of native vegetation in the Brazilian Cerrado for large-scale agriculture. This number represents a tripling of support for the Manifesto since its release in October 2017. We appreciate the leadership of companies like Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Unilever, and Carrefour on this initiative.

Cargill and Bunge, two of the world’s largest agribusinesses that are operating in the areas of Latin America with the highest levels of deforestation, are facing significantly increased pressure from their customers to expand their own success in eliminating deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Amazon to the Brazilian Cerrado, and other priority landscapes in Latin America.

“It’s not just environmentalists calling for an end to senseless and avoidable deforestation in South America,” said Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz. “Cargill and Bunge’s own customers simply don’t understand why their suppliers need to continue driving destruction of native ecosystems when there are half a billion acres of degraded land in South America.”

Mighty Earth, together with a group of technical experts, academics, companies, and civil society organizations has developed a technical proposal for a land-use change monitoring system for soy-growing areas in Latin America. The cost would be between $750,000 and $1,000,000 to establish, one seventy-thousandth of these companies’ annual profit. Once the system is up and running, the annual cost could drop to possibly half that amount.

“The wide support for the Cerrado Manifesto clearly shows that major companies want to break their links to deforestation through their supply chains. The world has through the Sustainable Development Goals agreed to stop deforestation by 2020, but a company like Cargill has not set a similar goal for itself. It is time for all suppliers, including Cargill and Bunge, to take a firm stand against deforestation, and support a non-acceptance of further destruction,” says Nils Hermann Ranum, head of policy and campaigns at Rainforest Foundation Norway.

The Manifesto was released on October 25, 2017 with 23 initial signatories. The pledge comes after Mighty Earth and Rainforest Foundation Norway’s 2016 “Mystery Meat” report, which exposed how the Brazilian Cerrado, a biodiverse savannah home to many threatened wildlife species and indigenous communities, is being destroyed for soy production connected to the global meat industry. The report prompted widespread media coverage and a growing awareness within the global community of the need for a joint private-public monitoring system to protect the Cerrado and other soy growing regions of Latin America like the Brazilian Amazon for further clearance for industrial agriculture.

“Meat production has a lot of sustainability issues, but stopping avoidable deforestation should be an easy win for these companies,” Hurowitz said.

El Pacto del Bosque - The Call of the Forest

This letter from Bolivian legislators,  state and local officials, and indigenous community leaders in Bolivia, calls on companies that sell or invest in meat, soy and other commodities to take immediate action to ensure that their supply chain and investments are free of any connection to the destruction of Bolivia’s highly biodiverse forests. International companies are playing a leading role in destroying approximately 700,000 acres of Bolivia’s forests per year.
These forests are critical for the climate and the indigenous communities that rely on them. Bolivia can develop and grow its agricultural sector without destroying these forests by focusing development on the more than 11 million acres of previously deforested land in Bolivia. 



Mighty Earth: Victory on Chocolate; Intensifying Focus on Meat Industry

Dear friends,

I wanted to share some important updates with you regarding Mighty Earth’s work around the world to make agriculture environmentally and socially responsible. Also, stay tuned for a big announcement on the expansion of our work for clean energy.

A Breakthrough on Chocolate
First, we’re very pleased to announce that the world's leading chocolate companies, including Mars, Hershey, Mondelez, Nestle, Cargill, Olam, and Barry Callebaut and several others have committed to a groundbreaking plan to end deforestation in the chocolate industry, and invest in restoration of the forests of Ivory Coast and Ghana. The announcement follows Mighty Earth’s “Chocolate’s Dark Secret” report, which documented how up to 40 percent of Ivory Coast’s chocolate came from the destruction of national parks and protected areas, decimating populations of wildlife like chimpanzees and forest elephants.

In this effort, we worked with IDH - the sustainable trade initiative, the Prince of Wales' International Sustainability Unit and the World Cocoa Foundation as well as the governments of Ivory Coast and Ghana to hammer out these commitments. This initiative has been a model of civil society working together with governments, donors and companies to drive very rapid progress for a whole industry, and we’re proud to have played a role. We are also grateful to the Arcus Foundation for making this campaign possible.

Read more about this breakthrough, and the steps the chocolate industry needs to take to implement it here.

World’s Largest Meat Sellers Call for Action on Deforestation

On October 23, I had the opportunity to join Prince Charles and many government and business leaders for a meeting to discuss private sector action to stop deforestation.   This meeting also afforded us the opportunity to discuss our efforts to protect Gabon’s forests, wildlife and communities with Gabonese president Ali Bongo Ondimba.

At the meeting, 23 of the world’s largest meat sellers and soy end users, such as McDonald’s, Wal-mart, and Tesco, publicly called for soy and meat companies to stop driving massive destruction of South America's native ecosystems. The companies announced their support for the Cerrado Manifesto, a call by Brazilian and international NGOs, including Mighty Earth, to end destruction of the Brazilian Cerrado’s highly biodiverse native ecosystems and instead focus development on the regions tens of millions of acres of previously deforested, degraded land. The companies' action came after months of pressure from Mighty Earth and our allies on these companies to act, as well as our widely covered "Mystery Meat" exposé.

Deforestation for soy in Bolivia, documented by Mighty Earth's investigation. Photo: Jim Wickens, Ecostorm/Mighty Earth.

Unfortunately, companies directly responsible for driving the destruction of these ecosystems - such as Cargill, Bunge, and ADM – have colluded to deny their customers the responsibly produced meat consumers demand.  What’s especially shameful about these companies’ failure to act is that they are just being asked to repeat their own decade-long success through the Brazilian Soy Moratorium, where they have managed to expand soy production by six million acres without deforestation.

We hope that consumer companies like McDonald’s, Walmart and Ahold Delhaize  will back their words with action and shift their meat and soy purchases to companies that provide feed that is free of connection to the kind of destruction we’ve exposed in Brazil’s Cerrado and the Bolivian Amazon basin.

Read more here.

Transforming the Meat Industry in the Heartland

It’s possible to provide all the protein that America and the world need with a fraction of impact on land, water and climate that the meat industry currently uses. But the American meat industry has, through decades of concentration, purchased feed and managed livestock with little attention to these impacts.

This summer, Mighty Earth launched a major effort to make US agriculture far more sustainable. In June, we published groundbreaking research that mapped for the first time the relationship between major meat and feed companies’ facilities and agricultural water pollution pouring into the Mississippi and other American waterways, and that was largely responsible for this summer’s largest-ever dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mighty Earth Volunteers in Dallas, Texas

There is no company more responsible for this environmental crisis than Tyson Foods, America’s largest meat company. Thanks to generous support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, we’ve been able to work with Green Corps and organizations like the Gulf Restoration Network and Care2 to extend a grassroots push to change Tyson across the Midwest and Gulf of Mexico. More than 230 local organizations and thousands of volunteers have taken action to urge Tyson to change.

The campaign seems to be getting some traction. Tyson CEO Tom Hayes recently appeared on CNBC’s Mad Money show with Jim Cramer to discuss growth prospects, and the conversation centered on Tyson’s ability to grow while providing sustainably sourced meat. While Tyson has yet to take any meaningful steps to back their in-principle commitment to sustainability,  it shows that grassroots demand in the heartlands is being heard. We’re going to keep it up.

Calling for Responsible Investment

Across our work focused on changing the private sector, we’ve found powerful allies in institutional investors like Green Century Capital Management, New York State Pension Fund, and the Norwegian Pension Fund, which use their financial might to persuade companies in which they invest to improve their environmental performance.  California’s pension fund, CalPers, has shown leadership by shifted investments away from coal, but has unfortunately continued to invest in companies like Bunge and Posco that engage in deforestation around the world. Mighty Earth’s Chairman, former Congressman Henry Waxman, this week took to the pages of the Sacramento Bee to call for CalPers to extend its leadership to forests.

We're doing a lot, but a lot must be done. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to making this progress - and the progress yet to come - possible. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Glenn Hurowitz

P.S. You can provide urgently needed for support Mighty Earth’s campaigns with a tax-deductible contribution through our parent organization, the Center for International Policy. Just click here, and choose Mighty Earth from the drop-down menu. Thank you!

Statement on 23 companies’ call for end to deforestation to produce meat

Today, 23 major meat retailers and consumer goods companies joined a call to the world’s major soy and cattle companies to take joint action to stop the destruction of the Cerrado, Brazil’s highly biodiverse savannah forest that provides much of the water for Brazil. Agricultural interests like the American companies Bunge and Cargill have already destroyed more than half of the Cerrado, leading to the call for urgent action.

Today’s announcement could represent the beginning of the end of deforestation in Latin America. The commitment was announced today at a meeting hosted by the Prince of Wales and Unilever, and signed by companies like Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Walmar, and McDonald’s. These companies have recognized that with 500 million acres of heavily degraded land available across Latin America, expanding agriculture does not require destruction of native ecosystems.

Now, it is up to the agribusinesses that dominate the global soy trade to act on this strong call from their customers. In particular, as Mighty Earth’s Mystery Meat investigation showed, Cargill and Bunge have each been responsible hundreds of thousands of acres of deforestation each across the continent. We hope these companies will now respond to their customers’ demand for environmentally responsible raw materials, and extend their own success in fighting deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon to the rest of Latin America.

The world has just 1000 days to meet companies’ 2020 pledge to eliminate private sector-driven deforestation. The original Soy Moratorium effectively eliminated deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Amazon in less time than that. Progress is possible, but it will require immediate action by Cargill and Bunge and their peers - and consequences to them from the 23 signatories if Cargill and Bunge don’t act.

Along with a range of technical experts, academics, companies, and civil society organizations Mighty Earth developed a technical proposal for a land-use change monitoring system for soy-growing areas in Latin America. The cost would be between $750,000 and $1,000,000 to establish, one seventy thousandth of these companies annual profit. Once the system is up and running, the annual cost could drop to possibly half that amount.

Today’s statement is a step forward, but companies need to continue pushing for a comprehensive solution such as the one described above. Just over the border from Brazil lies the Bolivian Amazon, where companies like Cargill have contributed to the destruction of approximately 10 million acres of forest, habitat for rare sloths and jaguars, and home to threatened indigenous communities. These same companies are also driving extensive deforestation in Argentina and Paraguay’s Gran Chaco, where action can be extended as well. Indeed, while the original Brazilian Soy Moratorium (and related Cattle Moratorium) have been wild successes, their flaw was that they were limited to just one ecosystem, permitting deforestation to continue apace elsewhere. Companies shouldn’t repeat the mistake of focusing too narrowly when a more comprehensive solution is tantalizingly within reach.

We congratulate the retailers and other consumer companies and many civil society organizations who contributed to today’s announcement. While it must be followed by real pressure and a comprehensive approach to make a real difference for all Latin America, it is a game changer.


Glenn Hurowitz, Mighty Earth CEO

New Investigation Into British Retailers' Supply Chains Finds Soy Linked to Deforestation

A new Mongabay investigation into the supply chains of major Britsh retailers including McDonalds, Tesco, and Morrisions, buy from Cargill which raises their poultry on imported soy directly linked to deforestation in Bolivia and Brazil. Read the full article here.


Banner Image Credit: © Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace

POSCO Daewoo palm oil concession

France announces new five-year climate plan that puts end to “imported deforestation” of products like palm oil and soy

Last week, Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot laid out France’s new “climate plan” which includes greater efforts to protect the world’s tropical rainforests in the Amazon, West Africa, and Southeast Asia. Hulot noted that the climate plan intends to put an end to “imported deforestation.”

The French government's commitment to end the importation of products like palm and soy linked to deforestation is hopeful. Especially now with this action, France is leading the way in supporting zero-deforestation commodity production. "This is a new step toward a full implementation of the Paris agreement,” said Sebastien Mabile, Lawyer at the Paris Bar leading Mighty's campaign against deforestation in France. “It's a major change for the food industry supply chain."

Mighty is encouraged by the recent news, which sends a clear message that rainforest destruction is not acceptable.

“Companies have shown that it is possible to produce agricultural products without deforesting,” said Etelle Higonnet, Legal and Campaign Director at Mighty. “The Brazilian Soy Moratorium reduced deforestation caused by soy from nearly 30% of new soy expansion in the Brazilian Amazon to less than 1% in just three years.  Now, it is important these solutions are implemented in other parts of Latin America and in places like South East Asia and West and Central Africa, to ensure economic development is truly sustainable and equitable, and that benefits local communities and protects the world’s remaining tropical forests.”

France’s new plan, intended to meet the ambitious targets of the Paris climate accord and make the country carbon neutral by 2050, also includes stopping the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040 and coal produced electricity by 2022. The announcement comes months after France adopted “le Devoir De Vigilance” law in February 2017. The new law establishes obligations toward large companies to prevent serious violations of human rights and environmental damages, with the aim of restoring respect for human and ecological rights by multinational corporations.

Burger King Commits to Stop Destroying Rainforests…in 13 Years

Burger King released new environmental commitments today following a joint campaign by Mighty Earth, Union of Concerned Scientists, Rainforest Foundation Norway, and SumOfUs. BK set a goal of eliminating deforestation and protecting local communities connected to raw materials like beef, chicken, animal feed (typically soy), palm oil, as well as paper and other packaging by 2030. In addition to Burger King, this policy also applies to Tim Hortons and Popeyes, which are all part of the Restaurant Brands International conglomerate.


When it comes to protecting forests, Burger King means fast food and slow action. They’re giving irresponsible agribusiness companies like Cargill and Bunge 13 years to stop destroying rainforests, instead of telling them that they need to stop now. Over the past 13 years, 271 million acres of rainforest has been destroyed around the world to make room for products including Whoppers, Crispy Chicken Jr.’s, and Bacon Kings. Burger King is sending a message that it’s okay for Cargill and Bunge to keep revving up the bulldozers.


Mighty Earth and Rainforest Foundation Norway released the “Mystery Meat" report about how Burger King keeps the origins of its meat secret. Through remote sensing, supply chain investigation, drone videos and field visits to 29 plantations across 3,000 kilometers of jaguar and sloth habitat in Brazil and Bolivia, the report chronicled Burger King and its suppliers’ massive contribution to rainforest destruction.


In the wake of the report, more than a dozen companies including McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Unilever, Nestle, Carrefour and Walmart have stated their support for an immediate end to deforestation for soy, the major feed for livestock.


While the 2030 deadline applies to beef and animal feed used to raise the livestock that go into its chicken, bacon, and beef, Burger King also has a significant environmental impact through the palm oil it uses. Unfortunately, the company is not revealing its suppliers, but instead subsidizing the industry-backed Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which allows destruction of secondary forests and carbon-rich peatlands. Mighty Earth called on Burger King to accelerate its action and focus on driving suppliers to immediately eliminate deforestation and human rights abuse.

Germany’s Mystery Meat: Despite Grown in Germany marketing, investigation shows large companies selling meat connected to the destruction of Amazon rainforest

Germany’s Mystery Meat: Despite Grown in Germany marketing, investigation shows large companies selling meat connected to the destruction of Amazon rainforest


Europe’s top producer of meat and dairy products imports massive amounts of soy produced through deforestation

May 24, 2017: The animal feed used to raise German livestock is driving deforestation across Latin America, according a new analysis by environmental group Mighty Earth. The investigation found almost 800,000 hectares of deforestation for soy across the Brazilian Cerrado and Bolivian Amazon basin since 2011, which is an area equivalent to clearing the entire Schwartzwald of its trees. The main companies found driving this deforestation are top importers of soy into Germany, where it is sold as the principle ingredient in animal feed.

Germany, a top producer of meat and dairy products in Europe, is a leading importer of soy from South America and a top market for Brazilian soy export specifically. Trade data shows that Germany imported 3.7 million tons of soybeans and 2.9 million tons of soybean meal in 2015. Most of this soy came from Brazil, where deforestation rates are among the highest in Latin America. Agribusiness traders Cargill and Bunge, who were discovered to be primarily responsible for driving deforestation in Latin America, are top soy importers into Germany.

“While top German companies proudly market their meat as locally produced, the reality is that wurst, cheese, and other iconic German products are actually raised on soy driving forest destruction across the world,” said Lucia von Reusner, Germany Director for Mighty Earth. “As a top market for the soy produced in Latin America, respected German companies like Edeka, Lidl, Aldi, and Metro have a key role to play in making sure suppliers like Cargill and Bunge are not destroying forests in threatened ecosystems.

In response to concerns from customers and investors in recent years, Cargill and Bunge adopted policies not to source from deforested areas. However, satellite analysis in our report reveals that these policies are not being implemented on the ground. The results of this investigation have prompted consumer companies from around the world to call for stronger forest protections in Latin America. Calls for a moratorium on further deforestation have come from several of the world’s largest food companies including Unilever, Tesco, McDonald’s, Carrefour, Kellogg’s, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Mars Petcare, Ahold, Dunkin’ Brands, Nestle, ADM, Louis Dreyfus, and Wilmar, as well as investors representing over half a trillion dollars in assets under management.

“Some of the world’s largest meat and dairy sellers are pressuring Cargill and Bunge to stop their deforestation immediately,” said von Reusner. “It’s time for German meat companies like Toennies, Vion, and PHW-Gruppe to do their part. We are calling on German companies that buy and sell meat to take a stronger leadership role and join the growing number of global consumer companies in calling for an end to this environmental destruction.”

According to World Resources Institute, there are approximately 500 million acres of previously deforested and degraded land across Latin America and agriculture can be expanded on much of this land without sacrificing intact forests. In the Brazilian Amazon, companies like Cargill, Bunge, ADM, Louis Dreyfus and others have been able to expand soy production by more than six million acres without sacrificing forests by agreeing not to buy soy that has been produced through deforestation. Mighty Earth, along with the Brazilian government and dozens of consumer companies around the world, want to expand this model to the entire continent. Cargill and Bunge have so far refused to take action.

An updated analysis released last week revealed that deforestation has continued at a rapid pace on these same sites in Latin America since Mighty’s initial investigation. In just this small sample of South America’s soy belt, Mighty Earth found a total of 60 square kilometers of new clearance (equivalent to approximately 10,000 football fields) on the farms it visited in September 2016, as well as 120 square kilometers of planned clearance—land that has been prepared to be bulldozed. As major consumers of South American soy, German companies have enormous influence in the soy industry and must call for an end to deforestation before it is too late.

About Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth is a global environmental campaign organization that works to protect forests, conserve oceans, and address climate change. We work in Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa, and North America to drive large-scale action towards environmentally responsible agriculture that protects native ecosystems, wildlife, and water, and respects local community rights.  Mighty Earth’s global team has played a decisive role in persuading the world’s largest food and agriculture companies to dramatically improve their environmental and social policies and practices. More information on Mighty Earth can be found at

Still At It

Still At It

Cargill and Bunge Caught Destroying the Equivalent of 10,000 Football Fields for the Global Meat Trade

Read the Report:

McDonald’s, Danone, Supermarkets Express Support for Action, but are Still Linked to Deforestation

WASHINGTON D.C., May 18, 2017- A new investigation by Mighty Earth utilized satellite imagery to find agriculture giants Cargill and Bunge driving new deforestation the size of about 10,000 football fields in Latin America– just months after these companies were linked to deforestation at the same sites in Bolivia’s Amazon basin and Brazil’s vast Cerrado savannah forest.

In the wake of the first investigation, those companies and their large corporate customers had pledged to act to prevent further deforestation, but the new evidence shows that their actions so far have been inadequate.

In just this small sample of South America’s soy belt, Mighty Earth’s investigation found a total of 60 square kilometers of new clearance (equivalent to approximately 10,000 football fields) on the farms it visited for the initial investigation, as well as 120 square kilometers of planned clearance—land that has been prepared to be bulldozed.

Cargill and Bunge – which supply feed for the chickens, pigs, and cattle that end up on dinner plates around the world – have so far obstructed efforts to extend their own highly effective forest protection system that has been running for 10 years in the Brazilian Amazon to the other soy-growing regions where they operate: the Bolivian Amazon, Brazil’s Cerrado, Paraguay and Argentina.

Meanwhile, major brands have called on Cargill and Bunge to act: after seeing the results of the investigation, companies including McDonald’s, Unilever, Walmart/Asda, Ahold, Carrefour, Mars Petcare, Dunkin’ Brands, Kellogg’s, Marks + Spencer, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Nestlé, have all stated their support for joint action, as have Cargill and Bunge’s competitors ADM, Louis Dreyfus and Wilmar. They join investors representing more than half a trillion dollars in assets under management, as well as the Brazilian Environment Minister.

“The tragedy of this continued deforestation is that it’s completely unnecessary,” said Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of Mighty Earth. “Cargill, Burger King, and the other food and agriculture companies have proven that they can expand agriculture production without sacrificing forests, but they’ve so far refused to do this. The ongoing, landscape-scale forest destruction of ecosystems illustrates the urgency for a comprehensive, effective solution.”

According to World Resources Institute, there are approximately 500 million acres of previously deforested and degraded land across Latin America and agriculture can be expanded on much of this land without sacrificing intact forests. Under the existing Soy Moratorium, Cargill, Bunge, ADM, Louis Dreyfus and others have been able to expand soy production by more than six million acres without sacrificing forests.

“We’ve seen in the Brazilian Amazon that soy crop expansion without deforestation is possible,” said Sharon Smith of the Union of Concerned Scientists.  “Yet, industrial soy continues to expand at the expense of forests outside of the Brazilian Amazon. It is unnecessary, short-sighted and destructive to native ecosystems. Soy traders and their customers have an opportunity now to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains in other soy-growing regions.  It’s a win-win for the environment, for the climate, and for consumers when these agricultural giants expand only onto previously cleared land.”

It’s estimated that extending the existing forest protection system to the other soy growing areas in South America would cost less than $1 million per year, or 1/75,000th the value of the global soy trade.

About Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth is a global environmental campaign organization that works to protect forests, conserve oceans, and address climate change. We work in Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa, and North America to drive large-scale action towards environmentally responsible agriculture that protects native ecosystems, wildlife, and water, and respects local community rights.  Mighty Earth’s global team has played a decisive role in persuading the world’s largest food and agriculture companies to dramatically improve their environmental and social policies and practices. More information on Mighty Earth can be found at

We Need Your Help to Stop the King of Deforestation

Since Mighty revealed deforestation in Burger King’s supply chain in our report, The Ultimate Mystery Meat, there’s been a massive response from everyday consumers calling for industry-wide change. But after they’ve liked, shared, commented and rallied, many have been wondering: what’s next?

It’s important that we continue to engage Burger King, Cargill and Bunge on this issue, and do as much as we each can to get Burger King to make a zero-deforestation commitment. Though not everyone can do everything, here are a few ideas:

Spread the word.

 One of the most important actions you can take is letting others know there is a problem, so they have a chance to act. Share beyond your environmentally-minded friends, too. Help activate new people to join the movement through social media, email, text, and word of mouth.

Some materials worth sharing include:

 Make your voice heard.

 From big corporations to city council members, decision-makers listen when enough people roar for change. Here are a few ideas to make your voice heard:

  • Sign our petition. Combined, petitions calling for Burger King to adopt a meaningful sustainability policy have over 500,000 signatures. If we continue to rally those who are outraged by Burger King’s apathy for the world’s forests, the public pressure could make a no-deforestation policy a business necessity.
  • Talk to the manager of your local Burger King. Just like politicians, corporations respond to birddogging. Whether or not this conversation is part of a larger rally, if enough managers pass on our message to corporate, it’s more likely our concerns will truly be heard.
  • Contact Burger King, Cargill and/or Bunge’s corporate offices. Burger King isn’t the only big corporation at fault. Let Cargill and Bunge know that they need to be leaders in expanding the Soy Moratorium throughout South America by calling their offices directly, or sending letters and postcards.
  • Write an Op-Ed or a Letter to the Editor to your local newspaper. Make sure your community is informed by writing your local paper. Here’s what a letter to the editor might look like:

There are [number] Burger Kings in [community], and none of them have sustainable sourcing practices. That’s because corporate refuses to act, even when Latin American deforestation is in their supply chains, as evidenced by a new report from Mighty Earth, The Ultimate Mystery Meat. Burger King lags far behind other fast food restaurants when it comes to sustainability—even McDonald’s has a no-deforestation policy and concrete sustainability goals.

I can’t stomach what Burger King is doing to our environment, and neither should you. That’s why I’m calling for concerned consumers to [rally outside a specific Burger King location to demand/ call, write, or even @ Burger King to demand/stop dining at Burger King until/your own ask] they stop deforesting valuable ecosystems in Bolivia and Brazil. When any forest suffers, we all do.

  • Take to the streets. Already, rallies have been held outside Burger Kings across the U.S. and in Sao Paulo, Brazil. People have delivered the Mighty report to restaurant locations, engaged with store managers, and performed theatrical demonstrations. Organize your own demonstration against Burger King’s unsustainable practices.


Organizations like Mighty spend all day fighting back against corporations that contribute to the destruction of our planet like Burger King. Donate to keep that work going. Click here and select “Mighty program” under the “My donation is for” dropdown. Become a sustainer by checking the box next to “show my support by making this a recurring donation.”

Change your habits.

As an individual consumer, there are a few ways you can change your own life that can disincentivize deforestation for crops like soy.

  • Consume less meat. 75% of soy goes to feed for livestock. To help reduce deforestation for soy (and your overall carbon footprint), reduce your own demand for it. One consumer might not make that much of a difference on their own, but together we can be part of the start of a larger culture shift that decenters meat consumption.
  • Make more meals at home. One of the best ways to keep an eye on your own consumption habits is to cook more meals yourself. Not only can you better meet sustainability concerns when you buy all of your own ingredients, home cooked meals can be healthier, too. This isn’t a practical suggestion for everyone, but if you have the time and the resources, preparing more of your own meals can be a great move for our forests.

Engajamundo Rallies Outside Sao Paulo Burger King

Engajamundo Rallies Outside Sao Paulo Burger King

Following the release of The Ultimate Mystery Meat, Mighty’s latest report chronicling major deforestation in Bolivia and Brazil, Brazilian environmental activists from Engajamundo took to the streets to demonstrate against deforestation in Brazil’s Cerrado. See them in action:

Cargill and Bunge face escalating pressure to clean up supply chain

In the wake of Mighty Earth’s Ultimate Mystery Meat report, soy traders Bunge and Cargill are facing escalating pressure for supply chain reform from their customers, investors, and the public around the globe. In the investigation, Mighty Earth uncovered Bunge and Cargill driving massive deforestation across South America.

Bunge and Cargill, as well as other leading soy traders, are meeting in New York City on Tuesday to decide their response.

Leading up to the meeting, a growing coalition is demanding that these companies extend the highly successful Brazilian Amazon Soy Moratorium - an agreement to stop selling soy grown on newly deforested land that effectively eliminated soy deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon - to other ecosystems like the Bolivian Amazon Basin, Paraguay’s Chaco, and Brazil’s Cerrado, where deforestation is still occurring at a terrific pace.

Major global companies like McDonald’s, Walmart, and Carrefour, along with Bunge and Cargill competitors ADM, Louis Dreyfus, and Wilmar, are joining with investors representing more than half a trillion in assets under management and the Brazilian Environment Minister to support this extension of the Soy Moratorium.

Instead of taking action, an increasingly isolated Cargill and Bunge are attempting to downplay their responsibility in this landscape destruction. Bunge has argued that it is only 20% of the soy market in the areas it operates silos in the Brazilian Cerrado- which makes it the biggest player in the region. Cargill has taken the same route and is asserting that it is only around 10% of the Bolivian soy market. Both companies’ responses confirm that they are leading traders in these countries, meaning their policies and operations have a major impact on the region.

Cargill and Bunge only need to look to the nearby Brazilian Amazon for a successful example of a path to eliminating environmental destruction while still expanding production and increasing profit. There are over 500 million acres of land that are already cleared across Latin America and these companies have more than ample opportunity to grow without clearing another acre of native habitat. They’ve succeeded before- they can do it again.

Activists Demonstrate Nationwide Against Burger King Deforestation Links

Activists Demonstrate Nationwide Against Burger King’s Deforestation

Last week, Mighty Earth revealed the deforesting practices of Burger King suppliers Cargill and Bunge in our report, The Ultimate Mystery Meat: Exposing the Secrets Behind Burger King and Global Meat Production. Following the release, there was a groundswell of consumer concern culminating in rallies outside Burger Kings across the country. In Miami, East Lansing, MI, Atlanta, Austin and White Plains, NY, conscientious consumers stood together to protest Burger King’s lack of any meaningful sustainability policy.

These activists experienced a wide array of reactions from store managers. Some threatened to call the police; others spoke of the deforestation they had witnessed first-hand growing up in South America.

On-the-ground action was met with social media organizing, as customers made their voices heard on Twitter and Facebook, demanding Burger King green up its act.

It was a heartening week of action against corporate environmental devastation. And it’s not too late to join! Sign our petition to demand Burger King rid its supply chain of deforestation now.

Une enquête révèle l’implication d’une chaine de fast-food et de géants de l'agrobusiness dans une entreprise de déforestation à grande échelle en Amérique latine

Des analyses satellites, des vidéos captées par des drones et des entretiens sur le terrain témoignent des répercussions énormes de la production mondiale de viande sur les écosystèmes d’Amérique latine

Washington, DC (2 février 2017) – Aujourd’hui, Mighty Earth et Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) ont rendu public un nouveau rapport qui expose en détail les résultats d'une enquête sur Burger King et deux grands négociants figurant dans sa chaîne d'approvisionnement, Cargill et Bunge. Ce rapport révèle comment ces sociétés sont impliquées dans une entreprise systématique de déforestation qui anéantit l'habitat des jaguars et des paresseux d’Amérique latine dans le seul but de produire du soja.

Grâce à des images satellite, Mighty et RFN ont pu identifier en Amérique latine des zones de déforestation récente résultant des activités de Cargill et Bunge liées au soja. En se fondant sur ces analyses, Mighty et RFN ont concentré leur enquête de terrain sur le Cerrado brésilien, une vaste écorégion de savane tropicale, et sur les basses terres du bassin amazonien en Bolivie. Souhaitant documenter l'origine des plants de soja qui nourrissent les bovins, les poulets et les cochons du monde entier, l’équipe d'enquête a réparti ses recherches sur 28 lieux différents du Cerrado et du bassin amazonien, couvrant ainsi plus de 3 000 kilomètres. Cette équipe a ainsi pu récolter un grand nombre de photos et de vidéos captées par des drones qui témoignent du défrichement rapide de certaines des dernières forêts et savanes intactes du monde, notamment par des incendies méthodiques.

Les vidéos, les photos et les conclusions de l'enquête sont disponibles à l'adresse suivante : Les derniers mysteres de la viande.

Burger King n'a pas souhaité rendre publique la liste de ses fournisseurs, et n'a pas non plus fourni d'informations détaillées sur l'origine de ses Whoppers, sandwiches au poulet ou de ses produits à base de porc. Burger King est loin d'être la seule société dont la chaîne d'approvisionnement pose de sérieux problèmes pour l'environnement. Mais comparée à son concurrent le plus important, McDonald’s, elle accuse un sérieux retard en matière d'exigences sociales et environnementales concernant ses matières premières. Burger King a ainsi obtenu un score de zéro dans le récent classement des sociétés de fast-food réalisés par l'Union of Concerned Scientists.

« Les hamburgers Burger King sont la dernière viande mystère, a déclaré Kristin Urquiza, directrice de campagne de Mighty Earth. Nous avons voulu connaître sa provenance, et ce que nous avons trouvé n’est pas beau à voir. Le roi du burger règne sur un royaume de déforestation. »

Grâce à une cartographie approfondie de sa chaîne d'approvisionnement, à la télédétection et à des entretiens sur le terrain, l'enquête a pu établir que deux des sociétés de négoce les plus étroitement liées à la déforestation observée au Brésil et en Bolivie, étaient les géants américains de l'agrobusiness Cargill et Bunge qui figurent tous deux sur la chaîne d'approvisionnement de Burger King. Rien que pour le Cerrado, l'enquête démontre que 567 562 hectares de terrain ont été défrichés de 2011 à 2015 dans les zones où opère Bunge. Quant à Cargill, il s’agit de 130 000 hectares pour cette même période de cinq ans. Aujourd’hui, plus de la moitié du Cerrado a déjà été détruit, principalement pour y planter du soja ou y élever du bétail. L'enquête souligne également comment Cargill joue un rôle majeur dans les activités de déforestation en Bolivie, alors que ce pays possède une des biodiversités les plus riches au monde. Or, la Bolivie est devenue ces dernières années, un épicentre international de la culture du soja et de la déforestation qui en découle.

« Burger King n’a mis en œuvre aucune politique permettant d'éviter que la nourriture qu'elle sert contribue à la destruction des forêts. C'est inacceptable, et on dirait qu'ils s'en moquent, a déclaré Nils Hermann Ranum, directeur du département des politiques et campagnes de Rainforest Foundation Norway. »

La production de soja est depuis longtemps une des causes majeures de la déforestation en Amérique latine. Près des trois quarts de la production mondiale de soja est destinée à l'alimentation animale et donc à la production de viande et de produits laitiers. Près d'un million de kilomètres carrés de notre planète - l'équivalent de la surface de la France, de l'Allemagne, de la Belgique et des Pays-Bas réunis - sont dévolus à la culture du soja. La plupart du soja est destiné à l'alimentation animale ; il finit dans les gamelles du bétail vendu en Europe, en Chine et aux États-Unis.

Cargill et Bunge vendent du soja destiné à l'alimentation animale. Cette dernière est utilisée par les éleveurs de bétail qui produisent la viande entrant dans la composition des burgers, chicken nuggets, hot-dogs et autres produits carnés. Burger King est la deuxième chaine de hamburgers au monde. Avec plus de 19 000 restaurants, elle se déploie sur près de 100 pays ; elle fait partie des sociétés contrôlées par le fonds d'investissement 3G Capital qui possède également des parts dans Anheuser Busch InBev, KraftHeinz, et Tim Hortons.

« Burger King est une des premières sociétés de fast-food au monde, mais se retrouve toujours dernière de la classe dès lors qu'il s'agit de politiques de protection environnementale. Ce géant doit suivre l’exemple de ses concurrents comme McDonald's et exiger de la part de ses fournisseurs que la destruction des forêts tropicales ne fasse pas partie de leur business model, a déclaré Sharon Smith de l'Union of Concerned Scientists. »

Une énorme opportunité se présente pour Burger King et ses fournisseurs pour contribuer de manière positive à la protection de l'environnement et des communautés indigènes. Pour cela, l’entreprise devrait :

  • S'inscrire dans le sillage de ses concurrents de l'industrie du fast-food en adoptant et en mettant en oeuvre une politique ferme "zéro déforestation, zéro exploitation" ;
  • Publier le nom de ses fournisseurs et rendre compte de leur conformité avec les politiques de durabilité ;
  • Rejoindre McDonald’s, Carrefour et d'autres encore pour soutenir l'expansion du moratoire brésilien sur le soja au Cerrado et dans d’autres pays d'Amérique latine, ce moratoire s’étant révélé très efficacepour lutter contre la déforestation.
  • Travailler avec les gouvernements, les communautés locales et la société civile afin de soutenir les améliorations en matière de gouvernance forestière et le déploiement d'une agriculture durable grâce à l'expansion de modèles réussis de "zéro déforestation" dansdes écosystèmes à

« C'est une chance unique pour Burger King, Cargill, Bunge et d'autres sociétés d’en finir avec la déforestation en Amérique latine, et d'encourager le monde à s'orienter vers une alimentation durable. Il est grand temps qu'ils la saisissent, a déclaré Marina Piatto, directrice environnement et climat de l'ONG brésilienne Imaflora. »

Migthy Earth est une organisation internationale qui mène des campagnes environnementales s'attachant à la protection des forêts, la conservation des océans et la lutte contre le changement climatique.

Rainforest Foundation Norway est une organisation qui s'attache à la préservation des forêts tropicales du monde et à la défense des droits de leurs habitants. L'organisation travaille avec plus de 70 organisations locales réparties sur 11 pays en Amazonie, en Asie du Sud-Est, en Océanie et en Afrique Centrale.


Marisa Bellantonio
+ 1 - 203-479-2026
[email protected]

New Investigation Exposes Extensive Deforestation in Latin America Connected to Burger King and Major American Agribusinesses

New Investigation Exposes Extensive Deforestation in Latin America Connected to Burger King and Major American Agribusinesses

Mystery Meat Report

Satellite analysis, drone video, and field interviews document vast impact of global meat production

Washington, D.C. (February 27, 2017) – A new report, released today by Mighty Earth and Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN), details findings of an investigation into Burger King and two major soy producers found in its supply chain, Cargill and Bunge. The report, “The Ultimate Mystery Meat,” reveals the secrets about where the feed for Burger King’s chicken, bacon, and beef come from, and shows that these companies are linked to massive, systematic deforestation to clear sloth and jaguar habitat in Latin America.


Using satellite mapping, Mighty and RFN identified areas of recent deforestation for soy in Latin America that were connected to Cargill and Bunge. The field investigation focused on both the Brazilian Cerrado, a vast forested savanna region in Brazil, and the Amazon basin lowlands in Bolivia. The investigative team visited 28 locations across the Cerrado and Amazon basin, covering more than 3,000 kilometers, to document the origins of the soy that feeds the world’s cattle, chicken, and pigs. The team captured extensive aerial drone videos and photos that documented rapid clearing of some of the world’s last intact forests and savannas, including through systematic burning.

The videos, photos and findings are available at; high-resolution photos and videos from the investigation are available for download and use.


Burger King does not make its suppliers public nor provide any substantial information about the origins of its Whoppers, chicken sandwiches, or pork products. While Burger King is far from the only company with serious environmental issues in its supply chain, it substantially lags behind its largest competitor, McDonald’s, in environmental and social requirements for its raw materials. Burger King earned a score of zero in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ recent rankings of fast food companies.

“Burger King hamburgers are the ultimate mystery meat,” said Mighty Earth Campaign Director Kristin Urquiza. “We set out to find where they come from, and what we saw wasn’t pretty. Burger King is ruling over a kingdom of deforestation.”


In the Cerrado alone, the investigation found that the areas in which Bunge operates saw 567,562 hectares of land deforested from 2011 to 2015. Cargill operates in areas of the Cerrado with about 130,000 hectares of deforestation over that same five-year period. While not all of this deforestation was for soy, Cargill and Bunge have provided financing and infrastructure that has opened up many of these regions to deforestation for different commodities. More than half the Cerrado has already been destroyed, primarily for soy and cattle. The investigation also found that Cargill is a leading driver of deforestation in Bolivia, one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Bolivia has in recent years become an international epicenter for soy clearance.


“Burger King lacks policies to ensure that the food they sell does not contribute to forest destruction. This is unacceptable. They don’t even seem to care,” said Nils Hermann Ranum, head of policy and campaigns at Rainforest Foundation Norway.


About three quarters of the world’s soy goes to animal feed for meat and dairy production. More than one million square kilometers of our planet – equivalent to the total combined area of France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands – are dedicated to growing soy. Most soy is grown for animal feed, which ultimately makes its way into the mouths of livestock sold in Europe, China, and the United States.


Cargill and Bunge sell soy used for the animal feed that meat producers use to raise the livestock that goes into burgers, chicken nuggets, hot dogs and other meat products. Burger King is the world’s second largest hamburger chain, and operates in approximately 100 countries with more than 15,000 restaurants; it is also part of a family of companies controlled by the conglomerate 3G Capital that includes Anheuser Busch InBev, Kraft Heinz, and Tim Hortons.


“Burger King is one of the world’s largest fast food companies, but consistently ranks last in the industry when it comes to environmental protection policies. The fast food giant needs to follow its competitors like McDonald’s and demand that its suppliers are not destroying tropical forests as part of their business model,” said Sharon Smith of the Union of Concerned Scientists.


Burger King and its suppliers have an enormous opportunity to make a positive contribution to protecting the environment and indigenous communities. Mighty and RFN are calling on Burger King to:


  • Follow the lead of its competitors in the fast food industry by adopting and implementing a strong “No Deforestation, No Exploitation” policy;
  • Publish its suppliers and report on their compliance with sustainability policies;
  • Join McDonald’s, Carrefour, and others in supporting the expansion of Brazil’s highly successful moratorium on Amazon deforestation to the Brazilian Cerrado and other countries in Latin America; and,
  • Work with governments, communities, and civil society to support broader improvements in forest governance and sustainable agricultural expansion by expanding successful zero-deforestation industry models to these at-risk ecosystems.


“Burger King, Cargill, Bunge and other companies have a unique opportunity to end the era of deforestation in Latin America, and to help move the world towards a vision of sustainable food. It’s time they seize it,” said Marina Piatto, Climate and Environmental Services Manager at Brazilian environmental NGO Imaflora.


Mighty Earth is a global environmental campaign organization that works to protect forests, conserve oceans, and address climate


Rainforest Foundation Norway is an organisation working to preserve the world¹s rainforests and safeguard the rights of their inhabitants. The organization works with more than 70 local organizations in 11 countries in the Amazon, Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Central Africa.