World’s Largest Leather Exporter Backs Out of Amazon

Just a couple of weeks ago, soya traders agreed to extend a moratorium on buying soya linked to Amazon destruction. However, as discussed in January, 80% of Amazon deforestation is from cattle farming. With continued involvement of major international organizations and companies — Greenpeace, McDonald’s, Nike, Wal-Mart, and Carrefour — a giant leap in protection of the Amazon was made a few days ago.

Bertin, the largest leather exporter in the world and Brazil’s second-largest beef exporter, jumped on board with Greenpeace and agreed to a moratorium on buying cattle from farms related to Amazon destruction.


The giant leap by Bertin comes soon after the release of Greenpeace’s “Slaughtering the Amazon” report.

Greenpeace will monitor implementation of the moratorium closely to ensure proper implementation. Bertin “will register and map all farms which directly supply cattle to the company” over the course of the next six months, according to the Greenpeace press release. “For the rest of the supply chain, including rearing and nursery farms, it will implement a traceability system from farms to its slaughterhouses and processing facilities by 2011. The company will also ensure that it does not buy cattle from indigenous and protected areas or from farms linked to slave labour, land conflicts and land grabbing.”

Bertin is the second major beef company to sign on to this moratorium. Marfrig, a leading beef trader, also agreed to not buy cattle from farms that deforest the Amazon on June 22 of this year.

The next big player to get on board the moratorium, JBS-Friboi (the largest producer and exporter of processed beef in the world), is yet to say anything on this matter and actually seems to be heading further into the Amazon.

Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon coordinator, says: “JBS-Friboi must accept its responsibilities and stop fuelling Amazon destruction. It needs to join these companies in protecting the rainforest now.”

Hopefully JBS-Friboi will agree with Bertin CEO, Fernando Bertin, who said: “Environmental responsibility is increasingly relevant for a company like ours to maintain and enhance its position in Brazil and abroad.”

The last steps that Greenpeace says need to be made involve the President of Brazil and developed countries of the world. Greenpeace International Forest Campaigner, Judy Rodrigues, says “it is vital that President Lula supports the industry initiatives and demonstrates that Brazil has measures in place to end Amazon destruction. In return, developed countries not only need to commit to deep cuts in their own emissions, but must also create a fund of at least US$40 billion a year to support tropical countries’ efforts to halt the destruction of precious rainforests in order to avert catastrophic climate change”

Image credit 1: Eduardo Amorin via flickr under a Creative Commons license

Image credit 2: leoffreitas via flickr under a Creative Commons license

Image credit 3: RicardoATB via flickr under a Creative Commons license

  • Frank Docherty

    The exploitation of slave labour and our enviroment is the most hanous and prevalent crime against humanity, world-wide. The profits of such crimes are in fact what is called the “proceeds of crime”, and, should be prosecuted as such.

  • Gerard Vaughan

    Well done Greenpeace, and the companies involved. If you were collectively called Johanna, and I was Eddy Grant, then you would indeed have given me hope !
    As it is, you have done as much for me anyway.
    The rule which seems immutable is “If it pays, we carry-on doing it”. It isn’t easy to prevent things that pay, from being Done. It requires police, then Armies to do so. It’s all over the place. See the news. Poppy farming ? – Great idea !
    Strangely, “modern windfarms” (my pet hate and subject) Don’t pay at all – exept as “PC” statements to cover for “nuclear expansion” – yet ( and so ?)governments continue to “invest” !! – at 0.15-odd % p.a. return.
    It may seem an untrue statement to say that this is effectively another big “crime against the biosphere ?” but in fact it IS, because it is an overall addition of CO2 to the atmosphere, whilst lulling into a totally false sense of well-being those who can neither have thought much about, nor investigated, “windfarms” at all.
    As far as I can see, they serve the equivalent function for the general public, that the armfull of junk serves to the individual. Very happy to be shown to be wrong.
    Good government must surely consist of “Realists”, but sadly it seems that such are all? defeated by politicians, somehow.

  • Bea Elliott

    Unfortunately JBS also just purchased facilities to maintain control of their leather manufacturing… They will be selling finished hides to Europe and China. They have no intention of heeding Greenpeace.

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