JBS has promised legal action against Greenpeace after the campaign group accused the Brazilian meat giant of buying cattle from farms involved in illegal deforestation.

The company, the world’s largest beef processor, said yesterday (6 June) it would use “all legal channels to repair the material damage” caused by Greenpeace’s “false accusations”.

JBS was responding to a Greenpeace report that claimed the company’s suppliers were involved in illegal deforestation, were invading protected areas and indigenous lands and using slave labour.

The allegations were the latest made by Greenpeace against JBS. Three years ago, it accused JBS of “fuelling” the “destruction” of the Amazon. JBS defended its record on sourcing cattle but, months later, made commitments over deforestation, indigenous land and protected areas.

The latest Greenpeace report said JBS’s “progress in implementing the agreement has been unacceptably slow”.

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“In particular, JBS is failing to prevent cattle from deforested land or illegal activities from entering its supply chain, in stark contrast to its claims to the contrary,” Greenpeace said.

“In researching JBS’s business practices, Greenpeace has found, once again, numerous new cases of JBS purchasing cattle directly and indirectly from farms involved in illegal deforestation, invasion of protected areas and indigenous lands, and also of farms using slave labour. Greenpeace can show that this contaminated beef is still entering the supply chain of major companies in the EU and Brazil.”

JBS, however, said it was “shocked” at the claims and insisted it had “demonstrated to its clients and to society at large that it has the most advanced and sophisticated systems in the area of sustainability in the beef sector in Brazil”.

It added: “The information regarding JBS in the report is false, misleading, incorrect and induces the public to draw erroneous conclusions regarding the reality of the facts. Due to this, the company will legally challenge Greenpeace and will use all available legal channels to repair the material damage caused to the image of the company through the disclosure of this incorrect information.”