A new analysis by environmental organization Mighty Earth in partnership with tech company MapHubs links meat giants JBS, Marfrig, and Minerva to the Amazon fires—which received worldwide attention earlier last year because of the significant increase in active fires. In the Amazon region, fires are intentionally set to clear land for cattle pastures or crop production. The report, called Fanning the Flames: The Corporations Destroying the Amazon and Worsening the COVID-19 Pandemic, maps out the fires intentionally set in Brazil this year and overlays local company supply chains to understand which companies are driving the destruction. Through its analysis, Mighty Earth discovered that JBS, Marfrig, and Minera are responsible for 72 percent of the beef exported in the areas with the highest concentration of fires. “It’s not a mystery. The same companies named in last year’s report—especially JBS and Marfrig—are again linked to the fires raging in 2020,” Mighty Earth Campaign Director Lucia von Reusner said. “After the worldwide outrage last summer about the destruction of the Amazon, it’s unthinkable that these companies have continued to go about business as usual without repercussions.”
Mighty Earth’s analysis also highlights how these fires are likely exacerbating the impacts of COVID-19. The three hotspot municipalities reported a combined 47,988 cases as of August 16, 2020, and an infection rate more than twice the national average by total population. Local communities have blamed the agricultural industry for worsening the impacts of the pandemic, both through crowding workers into unsanitary processing plants and burning land in ways that cause respiratory ailments.
In response to the findings, Mighty Earth called on global supermarkets and consumer goods stores to stop buying from suppliers that are destroying the rainforest. Many of the world’s largest food companies have adopted no-deforestation sourcing standards in response to public backlash but, according to Mighty Earth, they are largely failing to deliver on their promises.