Grupo Pão de Açúcar is stepping up against Amazon destruction

The largest supermarket chain in the country committed to stop selling beef linked to Amazon destruction as a response to consumer demands. 

Grupo Pão de Açúcar is the largest supermarket chain in Brazil. It is own by the Casino supermarkets in Europe.

After consumer demands to end the supply of beef linked to deforestation, and the claimed ignorance about their supply chain the group announced changes will be made to stop having this beef in their shelves.

This is important as livestock production is not only a huge contributor to deforestation but it has been historically related to forced labour and the invasion of indigenous lands.

According to Greenpeace's Slaughtering the Amazon report, the cattle sector in the Brazilian Amazon is the largest driver of deforestation, being responsible for 1 in every 8 hectares destroyed globally. Form all the deforested land the Amazon, 60% is occupied by cows according to the National Institute for Space Research.

The ramifications of the cattle industry are not only affecting Brazil. The Amazon is the largest reservoir of carbon dioxide, by cutting out native forest to feed cattle, this industry is impacting the climate for everyone.

In terms of regulations, Brazilian supermarkets were selling beef linked to the destruction of the Amazon with no consequences. With this decision Paõ de Azuçar is changing the situation. According to Reuters, the chain has hired consulting firms to audit their supply chain.

"To operate in the Amazon, companies must stop buying from farms involved in land grabbing, slavery or deforestation," Greenpeace's Adriana Charoux told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

For the consumers this means they will stop contributing indirectly to the destruction of the Amazon and the violation of human rights in the region. Hopefully this example will encourage other chains.

The consumers pressure is also relevant as last November a coalition of activists, celebrities and civil society members submitted a Zero Deforestation legislation to the Brazilian Congress which represented 1,4 million people who co-signed in support of the initiative.

Although the bill only symbolized a much needed discussion in Brazil it is a step towards change.

Both the bill and the changes made by Grupo Pão de Açúcar demonstrate deforestation and the industries linked to it are no longer accepted by society.

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