Last week we revealed that the UK imported £1bn-worth of Brazilian beef over five years from three companies linked to major annual deforestation in the Amazon.
We have now established that the EU as a whole imported at least $3bn (£2.5bn) of beef supplied by these companies in the same period.
As forest fires continue to rage in the Amazon, often caused by people clearing land for eventual beef pasture, this story is more important than ever and TBIJ wants to encourage further reporting.
Our most recent investigation with the Guardian and Repórter Brasil has shown how Marfrig — one of three giant Brazilian meatpackers — broke its own deforestation policy by sourcing cattle from a ranch that had grazed cattle in an area of illegally felled rainforest.
This followed our work on JBS, another Brazilian behemoth and the world’s biggest meat producer, which revealed a similar story of a supplier farmer breaching deforestation rules.
Our work coincided with unprecedented research by the supply chain initiative Trase, which has calculated the deforestation risk of the Brazilian beef industry. The study linked the export supply chains of JBS, Marfrig and a third Brazilian meatpacker, Minerva, to up to 500 sq km of deforestation between them every year.
Now we want to share the trade and shipping data that we have gathered for this series with journalists across Europe and the US.
You could use it to find out how much Brazilian beef these three giants exported to your country, and tell consumers at home how their shopping habits could be linked to the destruction in the Amazon rainforest – one of our most crucial buffers against the global climate emergency.
To get the data, please email [email protected]
Header image: Cattle in Pará, Brazil. Credit: Joao Laet
It’s an environmental travesty that the UK and EU prefer lower quality red meat from America and rain forest steak from South America rather than a cheaper, better and more reliable supplier such as Australia. Australia’s lamb and beef exports to the EU and UK are either prevented or restricted to the point of irrelevance; and for what purpose?