Indigenous activists from regions of the Amazon in Brazil and Colombia, along with environmental groups from France and the US filed suit in a French court on Wednesday against a supermarket chain for selling beef produced by companies that are responsible for mass deforestation and land grabs.
The lawsuit claims that French grocery retailer Casino violated a 2017 law requiring businesses to do due diligence on companies within their supply chain to ensure they are not supporting organizations that perpetrate human rights violations and environmental destruction.
According to evidence collected by the Center for Climate Crime Analysis (CCCA), Casino purchased beef from three slaughterhouses owned by JBS, the largest meat processing company in the world. The JBS slaughterhouses source beef from 592 distributors who collectively account for at least 50,000 hectares (123,550 acres) of deforestation between 2008 and 2020. Despite media reports detailing JBS’s harmful practices, Casino has continued to purchase meat from the corporation.
Casino claims they monitor their suppliers to ensure they are not dealing with organizations that engage in land grabs, child and slave labor and deforestation. They also say that they do not sell Brazilian beef in their French stores. However, Casino’s second-largest grocery market is in Brazil, and their business in South America makes up nearly 47 percent of the company’s global revenue.
Fany Kuiru Castro, a representative for the Uitoto people of Colombia and director of the National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon said, “Cattle ranching, monocultures and other extractive industries are putting our lives at risk and exterminating indigenous peoples.”
The lawsuit seeks 3 million euros in damages for indigenous groups. They also request that Casino come into compliance with the 2017 law to “ensure that their activities do not entail deforestation,” says Sebastien Mabile, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.