Brazil: Meatpacking Industry Giant Taps Blockchain Technology to Fight Deforestation

JBS S.A., Brazil’s largest meat packaging company, has bowed to pressure from investors and activists regarding the growing deforestation in the Amazon.

Between now and 2030: JBS Green Platform

Among the complaint, is that cattle ranches in the country are clearing forest land to create grazing areas for their livestock. For instance, cattle pasture accounts for 80-90 percent of the first deforestation in the world’s largest rain forest. The meatpacker has responded with a $182 million fund to address the problem using blockchain technology.

The investment is projected to be done in phases. In the first five years, JBS will commit roughly $46 million, with the amount projected to grow before the end of 2030. Apart from the giant meatpacker, the project is open to third parties expected to pour in approximately $91 million.

The project is called the JBS Green Platform and will be launched first in Brazilian states with large cattle herds such as Mato Grosso. Using blockchain technology, JBS seeks to track all supplies from its 50,000 direct suppliers to the indirect suppliers, to ensure that everyone has a clean environmental record. 

JBS’s Green Platform will be audited by third parties and allow banks to evaluate whether those accessing credits are associated with ranches driving deforestation in the tropical woods.

Where it all Started

Although deforestation in the Amazon is not a new thing, it continues to worsen as the search for cattle pasture lingers. Just last year, 10,452 square kilometers (the size of Lebanon) of the forest was cleared, making it the biggest in a decade.

JBS has, in the past, tried to cut ties with those using the Amazon as a grazing point without permission. However, since it deals with the last in the chain, illegal cattle from the forests are still finding ways into their slaughterhouse.

Those illegally clearing Amazonian lands for cattle ranching have been colluding with farms, who are supplying meat to major meatpackers in the country. Since JBS and companies like it only monitor the immediate supplier, it’s hard to police those that are down the chain.

According to Gilberto Tomazoni, global CEO, JBS, the meatpacker is recapturing its responsibility,

“To be a transformation agent for society, to be a catalyst. To build … a more sustainable Amazon.”

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