Bertin commits to Amazon cattle moratorium

A second Brazilian beef exporter has agreed to stop sourcing cattle from farms involved in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

Bertin has followed rival Marfrig in adopting a total moratorium on the purchase of cattle from suppliers linked to illegal deforestation. It has also pledged to ensure it is not buying cattle from indigenous and protected areas or from farms linked to slave labour, land conflicts and land grabbing.

The decision comes following intensive pressure generated by Greenpeace’s ‘Slaughtering the Amazon’ report, which claimed that Bertin, Marfrig and JBS - which supply 90% of the UK’s Brazilian beef imports – were knowingly buying cattle from farms engaged in recent and illegal deforestation.

“Bertin’s decision should pave the way for the modernisation of the Brazilian cattle industry”, said Sarah Shoraka, Greenpeace Forests campaigner.

“Given the sheer size of both Bertin and Marfrig’s operations, this commitment will have real impact on driving down Amazon deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. Greenpeace will closely monitor the moratorium’s implementation to ensure its success”, said Shoraka.

Fernando Bertin, CEO of Bertin, S.A. said: “Environmental responsibility is increasingly relevant for a company like ours to maintain and enhance its position in Brazil and abroad. Today, we are making a fundamental step.”

Bertin has promised Greenpeace that it will register and map all fattening farms which supply cattle directly to its slaughterhouses over the next 180 days, but said it will need two-years to implement a traceability system to cover the rest of its supply chain, including rearing and nursery farms.

JBS, the world’s largest producer and global exporter of processed beef, has remained silent on the issue. Greenpeace claims that the company is actually expanding into the Amazon, having recently rented new facilities north of the Matto Grosso State, an area which has the greatest rate of cattle ranching expansion and deforestation in the Amazon.

“JBS-Friboi must accept its responsibilities and stop fuelling Amazon destruction. It needs to join these companies in protecting the rainforest now,” said Shoraka.

Cattle ranching is the biggest driver of Amazon rainforest destruction and contributes to making Brazil the fourth largest climate polluter in the world.

Greenpeace wants Brazil’s entire cattle sector to follow the soya industry’s example and commit to a moratorium on expansion into newly deforested areas. The group is calling on both federal and state governments to ensure this is possible by mapping, registering and monitoring rural properties.