Beef Policy

UK Position Statement

Background

Cattle can be a significant driver for deforestation, either directly through ranching activities in forest environments or indirectly through the sourcing of soy for livestock feed. As part of the Consumer Goods Forum, we have pledged to contribute to achieving zero net deforestation by 2020. Ensuring that our cattle products are sourced in a responsible way is key to this. 

In the UK, all our fresh beef comes from the UK or the Republic of Ireland (ROI). However, our corned beef comes from Brazil. Sourcing from Brazil, we need to ensure our trade provides social and economic benefits without contributing to environmental degradation – including deforestation.

The Brazilian Cattle Agreement was established in 2009, and signalled a step-change in the way the main beef companies in Brazil monitor their supply chains to ensure that farms or ranches are not contributing to further deforestation, using slave labour or encroaching on indigenous lands or conservation areas. As part of this Agreement, results of external audits detailing levels of geo-mapping of farms are published annually, allowing us to have more confidence and transparency in our supply chains.

Our approach

All our Brazilian beef suppliers are signatories to this Cattle Agreement. Our suppliers also use the official register and blacklists managed by the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment and its agency IBAMA, to ensure they only buy from farms and slaughter houses approved for supply to the EU. Additionally, we are working with our suppliers to see how we can work together to support further improvements across the beef industry, strengthening our controls but at the same time providing incentives for cattle farmers to ranch responsibly.

We are constantly working to improve our traceability processes to give us greater visibility of our cattle supply chain. In addition to this, wherever possible we want to make a wider contribution to systemic issues, like deforestation, by collaborating with expert stakeholders and industry bodies to drive standards up across the board.

Commitments

  • To mobilise resources to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020.