Tesco meat could still have connections to deforestation

Supermarkets like Tesco, Carrefour and Albert Heijn could still be selling meat linked to deforestation in Brazil, claims a recent report.

According to an investigation by advocacy group Mighty Earth links have been made between soya traders and unethical suppliers.

This results in supermarkets further along the value chain, potentially stocking meat produced using animal feed which has caused deforestation during its production.

The move follows Sainsbury’s and Lidl Netherlands, alongside four other European companies, pledging to drop Brazilian beef products from Brazil over concerns of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest and other ecologically important areas.

According to the advocacy group, soya suppliers have removed 27000 hectares of trees since August 2020, with deforestation said to have occurred across 10 farm sites in Brazil’s Cerrado region.

Mighty Earth also claimed that one soya supplier removed more than 1,180 hectares of trees in under a month, resulting in the group to urge supermarkets to make ethical choices and audit supply chains more carefully.

The report said: “After years of failed efforts to nudge the soy companies to sever ties with suppliers engaged in deforestation, the time has come for major supermarkets to deliver on their promises, and deploy meaningful commercial consequences for non-compliance with their zero-deforestation pledges.”

As a result, Mighty Earth has called on supermarkets – including Tesco – to put pressure on their meat suppliers to increase the production of plant-based alternatives.

It hopes to see suppliers commit to making at least 20 % of its produce portfolio meat-free by 2030.

A Tesco Spokesperson told Grocery Gazette: Setting fires to clear land for crops in Brazil is causing deforestation and it must stop – we are committed to eliminating deforestation in the sourcing of soy, including sourcing all the soy for our UK business from whole regions that are verified as deforestation-free by 2025.

“We welcome the findings in the report and where the traders concerned are known to be present in our supply chains we have asked them to investigate and take appropriate action, including immediate suspension of supply from farms that have caused deforestation.

“We recognise we can’t transform the system alone, and we are working with partners to build the industry-wide support needed to deliver this. Along with industry partners, we launched the UK Soy Manifesto, which commits signatories to ensure all soy imported into the UK is deforestation and conversion-free by 2025 at the latest. We need our suppliers, industry, NGOs and governments to work with us to end deforestation and protect our natural environment.”