How Americans’ appetite for leather in luxury SUVs is worsening Amazon deforestation


JBS disagreed with the criteria prosecutors used and agreed to improve its monitoring system, block vendors flagged by the search, and donate $ 900,000 to the state in response to the audit.

To get a sense of the scale of ranches operating in vulnerable areas of the Brazilian Amazon, The Times overlaid government maps of Amazon protected lands, deforested areas, and farm boundaries with the locations of the ranches that JBS has made. publicly listed as supplying its slaughterhouses in 2020. Analysis showed that among JBS suppliers, ranches covering approximately 2,500 square miles significantly overlapped with native land, a conservation area, or an area deforested after 2008, when laws regulating deforestation were put in place in Brazil.

The methodology and results were reviewed and verified by a team of independent researchers and academics studying land use in the Brazilian Amazon.

International trade data showed that companies that owned tanneries supplied with hides then shipped leather to factories in Mexico run by Lear, a major seat maker that supplies auto assembly plants across the United States. Lear said in 2018 that it then sources around 70 percent of its raw hides from Brazil. The hides from Brazil are also being transported to other countries, including Italy, Vietnam and China, for use in the automotive, fashion and furniture industries, according to trade data.

JBS acknowledged that nearly three-quarters of the ranches identified in the Times analysis straddled land the government qualifies as illegally deforested, indigenous land, or a conservation area. But he said all the ranches were following the rules to prevent deforestation when JBS bought them.

JBS said that in cases where there was overlap, farms were allowed to operate in protected or deforested areas, or their boundaries had changed, or they had followed rules to correct their environmental violations. Ranching is permitted in certain protected areas in Brazil if it follows sustainable practices.

In a statement, JBS said it has maintained a monitoring system for more than a decade that verifies suppliers’ compliance with its environmental policy. “More than 14,000 suppliers have been blocked for not respecting this policy,” he said. However, the company said, “the big challenge for JBS, and for the beef supply chain in general, is to monitor its suppliers’ suppliers because the company has no information about them.”


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