Earlier this month supermarket chain Tesco called on the UK government to effectively ban food that causes deforestation, in support of Greenpeace efforts.
But Greenpeace is not satisfied, claiming Tesco has a long way to go in using its commercial clout to protect rainforests.
In a move which will probably achieve the aims of both sides, by keeping the public conversation alive, Greenpeace has said Tesco’s meat is linked the world’s largest meat processor JBS, which in turn has been linked to deforestation and human rights violations.
The meat Tesco does sell has been fed with soya and just one 1% of that soya animal feed is certified as sustainable. Greenpeace says sustainable soya is hard to find. Many companies believe the market won’t improve enough to provide physically certified soya, in the quantities Tesco needs, any time soon.
Tesco CEO Dave Lewis lent his voice to the call against Amazon deforestation, saying Tesco does not source any of its meat from Brazil in a bit to protect the rainforest.
Tesco acknowledges that food and farming creates 70% of global deforestation
He said, “We have worked alongside Greenpeace on this issue over many years. Today we call for our government to mandate food companies, as part of its National Food Strategy, to introduce effective due diligence across supply chains to make sure all food sold in the UK is deforestation-free.”
A company statement read, “setting fires to clear land for crops or grazing is destroying precious habitats like the Brazilian rainforest. It must stop… Food and farming creates 70% of global deforestation.”
However, the company was more circumspect regarding the accusations around JBS. Its statement reads, “Treating suppliers fairly is central to our business. Greenpeace is calling on us to delist two suppliers, Moy Park and Tulip, who we have worked with for over 40 years, who collectively employ over 17,000 people in the UK and who meet our environment and zero deforestation standards.
“The reason – because since 2015 and 2019 respectively, they have been owned by JBS. Businesses need to be part of the coalition to bring about change. Penalising suppliers who are playing their part and stand ready to do more cannot be in the interests of this agenda. Moy Park and Tulip also supply Aldi, Co-op, Lidl, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
“Blacklisting them could lead to thousands of job losses, impact British farmers and ultimately compromise our ability to offer fresh British meat and chicken to our customers.”