For more than a decade, JBS, the second-largest food company in the world, has used satellite imagery to monitor an area in the Amazon greater than the size of Germany to ensure that 100% of its direct beef suppliers comply with its responsible sourcing policies, including the company’s long-standing commitment to zero deforestation.
Today, the company is taking its commitment one step further, announcing the Together for the Amazon program, a series of innovative, long-term initiatives that build on the company’s legacy of conservation and sustainable development in the Amazon biome. The program will engage industry leaders, civil society, government authorities and environmental stakeholders to propose meaningful actions that will strengthen its value chain and help preserve this critical biome.
The program is consistent with JBS’s long-term sustainability priorities, including the commitment to combat climate change -- one of the global sustainability targets it presented in 2019. The fundamental pillars of the Together for the Amazon program are: (1) development of the value chain, (2) forest conservation and restoration, (3) support for local communities in the Amazon and (4) scientific research and technology development.
The first pillar consists of three key initiatives. The first of these is the JBS Green Platform, a blockchain platform that will enable the company to track the suppliers of its cattle suppliers by 2025.
The second is sharing the company’s supplier monitoring technology and its responsible sourcing policy with the value chain, including the entire food industry, livestock producers, family farmers, financial institutions and the agribusiness sector. The third initiative will provide suppliers with environmental, animal husbandry education and legal support.
JBS also announced the creation of the JBS Fund For The Amazon, a fund that will finance important projects and actions to stimulate sustainable development in the Amazon biome. JBS will contribute 250 million reals over the first five years and up to 500 million reals by 2030.
“Today, we publicly reiterate our commitment to the sustainability of the Amazon. We hope our actions today will help accelerate the urgent fight against deforestation while fostering the bio-economy, sustainable agricultural practices and opportunities for social development,” JBS global chief executive officer Gilberto Tomazoni stated.
Development of the value chain
Currently, JBS, in accordance with its Responsible Raw Material Sourcing Policy, monitors 100% of its cattle suppliers using strict sustainability criteria, including zero tolerance for deforestation, encroachment on indigenous lands or environmental conservation units, forced labor or the use of areas embargoed by Ibama. The company’s monitoring program includes a daily, online analysis covering more than 50,000 cattle-supplying farms.
“Over the last decade, we have made significant investments to establish one of the world’s largest private supplier monitoring systems. We have also engaged in industry initiatives, along with non-governmental organizations and the Federal Prosecution Office in states of the Legal Amazon region, and sponsored educational programs for our suppliers to help them improve their land stewardship,” said Wesley Batista Filho, CEO of JBS South America and Seara.
The JBS Green Platform will cross-reference data on the company’s suppliers with livestock transportation data. The technology will enable JBS to extend to the other links in the production chain the same socio-environmental criteria it currently applies to its suppliers in the Amazon. The initiative will employ blockchain technology precisely to provide confidential and secure access to the information regarding its suppliers. The information will be audited and the results reported in the company’s annual and sustainability report.
JBS will launch campaigns for engaging with suppliers and other interested parties to ensure that all of its suppliers’ suppliers are included in the JBS Green Platform by 2025.
“We are confident that our industry, and all other important stakeholders, will join us in this important endeavor. We believe that through collaboration, partnership and engagement, we can manage to bring about transformational change in the biome that will result increasingly sustainable production,” said Renato Costa, CEO of Friboi, the company’s beef business unit.
In addition, JBS will provide legal, environmental and livestock husbandry advisory services to help producers improve the stewardship of their land. JBS will expand its sustainability educational activities for livestock suppliers and increase investments to develop digital platforms that help ensure that properties can gain compliance with the company’s policies, as it already does in the states of Mato Grosso and Pará, Brazil.
As part of the Together for the Amazon Program, JBS will share its supplier monitoring technology with livestock farmers, financial institutions and other companies seeking to adopt socio-environmental criteria.
JBS Fund for the Amazon
The JBS Fund for the Amazon will be dedicated to financing initiatives and projects that expand conservation of the forest and the sustainable development of the communities that live there, with an initial contribution of 250 million reals in the first five years.
JBS will invite its stakeholders to contribute to the fund and has agreed to match third-party contributions. The total funding target is 1 billion reals by 2030.
The fund will be headed by Joanita Maestri Karoleski, former CEO of Seara, with the support of a board of directors, a fiscal council, a consultative council and a technical committee. The technical committee and the consultative council will assist in choosing the projects that will receive funding. The fund will be audited by KPMG. The funding, actions and results of the fund will be reported and published for transparent public consumption.
“Curbing illegal deforestation is a key challenge to defending the Amazon. This challenge can only be effectively met by focusing on the quality of life and economic opportunities for the population of the region, especially the indigenous and riverine peoples and the quilombola communities who live there,” fund president Joanita Maestri Karoleski said. “We believe in the possibility of a sustaining Amazon, because we know that environmental preservation and socioeconomic development are intimately linked.”