Brazil's largest grocery chain pledges to chop deforestation, slavery from supply chain

Fri Apr 8, 2016 11:59am EDT
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By Chris Arsenault

RIO DE JANEIRO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Brazil's largest grocery chain has pledged to stop selling beef produced on deforested land in the Amazon rainforest in what campaigners say is a victory for the environment and human rights.

Food retailer Pão de Açúcar also promised to stop buying beef produced by workers living in slave-like conditions, or cattle produced on land grabbed from local communities.

The grocery chain has hired consulting firms to audit their supply chains and the firm will cut ties with businesses causing deforestation in the Amazon, said a spokeswomen for Greenpeace Brazil which welcomed the new purchasing plan - to be implemented by the end of June - as a step in the right direction.

"To operate in the Amazon, companies must stop buying from farms involved in land grabbing, slavery or deforestation," Greenpeace's Adriana Charoux told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "They have a lot of work to do before June 30."

Representatives of Pao de Açúcar were unavailable for interviews.

"We have worked to mitigate the social and environmental risks of our supply chains," a company spokeswoman said in a statement issued last week.

The firm operates 832 stores across Brazil and has pledged to help its suppliers improve their practices ahead of the June deadline.

Cattle production is the main driver of Amazon deforestation, Charoux said. About 60 percent the land that was once rainforest is now occupied by cattle.   Continued...