BRAZIL'S JBS S.A., the largest beef processor in the world, has dropped its lawsuit against Greenpeace and has renewed its pledge not to procure cattle from restricted areas in the Amazon region.
JBS sued Greenpeace last summer after the activist group said the company had gone back on its pledge and was buying cattle from producers who graze herds on deforested and other fragile land in the Amazon biomune, or rainforest (Feedstuffs, June 18).
JBS said the Greenpeace charges were "false, incorrect, misleading" and could induce a loss of business and noted that government records showed that the suppliers were not blacklisted.
JBS and three additional Brazilian meat packers signed a Greenpeace-brokered agreement three years ago that they would not source cattle from deforested land or from land reserved for indigenous people (Feedstuffs, Aug. 24, 2009).
JBS subsequently began developing a monitoring system using geo-referenced data, satellite images and public information to analyze the farms from which it acquires cattle.
In a statement, Jose Augusto de Carvalho Jr., president of the JBS Mercosur business in South America, said JBS and Greenpeace had reached "a new stage" in efforts to effect the agreement. He said, by 2014, JBS will have monitoring in place to check for deforestation on every farm from which its acquires cattle.
Brazil's government officials said better enforcement and monitoring have slowed illegal land clearing, and destruction of the biomune in 2012 hit its lowest level in 20 years.
JBS, headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is also a major leather manufacturer and a major dairy processor in Brazil.
It operates in the U.S. as JBS USA, where it is the second-largest chicken integrator and the third-largest beef and pork processor. Its Australian beef and lamb operations also are part of JBS USA.
The company had 2011 sales that totaled 61.8 billion reals ($34.1 billion).