UK Purchased Billion Euros of Beef from Firms Tied to Amazon Deforestation


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The world’s biggest supplier of burgers, Marfrig, has been sourcing cattle from the Amazon rainforest sold to them by ranchers linked to deforestation, and British companies are still buying from them, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported in September 2019.

Marfrig is a known supplier of beef to many fast food chains around the world including McDonald’s and Burger King. The company takes pride in its green credentials and recently approved a bond for environmentally conscious investors as well as claiming that none of the cattle they buy originate from farms implicated in deforestation.

Marfrig committed to its conservation efforts ten years ago by promising “not to purchase any livestock originating from deforested or conservation areas,” and it underscored this in 2017 by promising to tighten up its protocols for cattle purchases. Research traced cattle that the company purchased this year back to a farm that grazed cows on illegally-felled rain forest. Nearly one billion Euros worth of beef from Marfrig and two other meat suppliers, Minerva Food and JBS, have been directly imported to the UK these past few years, and supply chains from these three companies are linked to almost 500 square kilometers of deforestation every year.


As of October 2019 only two other outlets have reported on the Bureau’s findings, the Guardian and Bloomberg. The Guardian story is comparable to the Bureau’s report, while Bloomberg’s article focused primarily on Marfrig’s $500 million green beef bond. Two stories, related stories, from the Japan Times and The Atlantic touch on the beef industry fueling the Amazon fires but only mention the role of the discredited three beef companies in passing.

Source: Andrew Wasley, Alexandra Heal, and André Campos, “UK Purchased £1bn of Beef from Firms Tied to Amazon Deforestation,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, September 18, 2019, https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2019-09-17/uk-purchased-1-billion-of-beef-from-firms-tied-to-amazon-deforestation.

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