Agribusiness giants JBS and Cargill complicit in razing forests, new monitoring system reveals   

Today, Mighty Earth launches its Soy & Cattle Deforestation Tracker, a unique monitoring system that links megafarms responsible for large-scale deforestation and land clearance in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado to major soy traders and meatpackers. The Tracker provides unprecedented visibility into opaque and destructive supply chains. 

The Tracker combines near real-time satellite deforestation data with investigative supply chain research provided by research group Aidenvironment. The top 10 major soy traders and meatpackers in Brazil are then ranked based on the extent, severity, and response to the deforestation and ecosystem conversion in their supply chains 

Two major agribusinesses JBS and Cargill are the worst performing companies with respective scores of 1 and 25 out of 100 possible points. JBS, a Brazilian-owned beef company, is linked to 42,538 hectares of conversion – an area about half the size of New York City. Nearly 50% of this clearance represents possible illegal clearance under Brazilian law. JBS is the top importer of beef from Brazil into the United States.  

Cargill, the largest privately held company in the US and major soy trader, is connected to megafarms that have cleared 61,260 hectares in Brazil’s Amazon and Cerrado – an area about the size of Chicago. Brazilian soy from Cargill and other soy traders typically ends up as animal feed for livestock. 

Many of the world’s leading brands have made commitments to achieve zero-deforestation in their supply chains by 2020, yet they continue to buy from corporations like JBS and Cargill connected to deforestation and land clearance. 

Mighty Earth’s research shows that retailers like Walmart, Costco, Kroger, Ahold Delhaize USA, and Publix sell JBS products, while Costco, Stop & Shop and Food Lion all buy from Cargill 

American customers have spoken out loudly and clearly – they don’t want to be complicit in the destruction of Brazil’s precious forests,” Asha Sharma, Director at Mighty Earth said. However, retailers and their suppliers – the soy traders and meatpackers featured in our Tracker – continue to allow business as usual. These corporations must take immediate action to address customers’ demands and purge deforestation from their supply chains.” 

No corporation featured in the Tracker scores higher than a 66, indicating the large extent to which the Brazilian soy and cattle sectors are linked to deforestation. The two other US companies included in the Tracker – Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and Bunge also perform poorly with respective scores of 47 and 31. 

According to Brazil’s space agency (INPE) deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has surged to a 12-year high. Uncontrolled expansion of industrial agriculture, particularly for beef and soy production, is the leading cause of Brazil’s deforestation. 

Customers have the right to know how their food is produced and whether their purchases are associated with environmental destruction. Mighty Earth’s Soy & Cattle Deforestation Tracker shows the importance of publicly available monitoring systems that hold corporations accountable to their sustainability commitments and promises to their customers, Sharma said.