Camden Greenpeace activists urge Tesco to drop contracts with 'climate criminals'

Camden Greenpeace volunteers outside Tesco on Caledonian Road

Camden Greenpeace volunteers outside Tesco on Caledonian Road - Credit: Camden Greenpeace

Camden Greenpeace volunteers have called on Tesco to drop "climate criminal" meat producers from its supply chain. 

Activists campaigned outside Tesco Express store in Caledonian Road, Kings Cross on March 26, the same day around 50 demonstrations took place across the UK.

Volunteers created a red line with placards, to symbolise the line that Tesco is crossing by continuing to do business with "forest destroying" meat supplier JBS.

Photo 1- Greenpeace volunteers outside Tesco on Caledonian Rd1

Greenpeace volunteers outside Tesco on Caledonian Road calling on the supermarket chain to cancel contracts with 'climate criminals' - Credit: Greenpeace

They held up placards with photos of the Amazon rainforest being destroyed due to deliberate fires, and signs reading "Tesco meat fuels Amazon destruction", "Tesco breaks its climate promises" and "Tesco buys meat from climate criminals".

Passers-by signed the petition which nationally has more than 263,000 signatures, and invited customers to hand in a message to the store manager.

The petition and the message call on Tesco to drop forest destroying companies from its supply chain, and replace at least half of the meat it sells with affordable plant based alternatives by 2025. 

Volunteer Elizabeth Weekes, who lives in Gospel Oak, said Tesco "is crossing a line by continuing to source industrial meat from rainforest destroyer JBS".

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She added: "Tesco must think its customers are fools if it believes it can say it is acting on deforestation and yet it continues to fund one of the worst forest destroyers in the Amazon

"Greenpeace Camden will keep letting shoppers know that Tesco meat fuels deforestation until it takes proper action to remove deforestation from its supply chain and drops JBS.

"The Amazon plays a critical role for the world’s climate - because it stores so much carbon. If we lose the Amazon, we lose the fight on climate change.’

New data from Brazil shows that deforestation in January was five times higher than in 2021.

Greenpeace said that despite Tesco claiming to have met its deforestation targets, its meat is not deforestation-free.

The supermarket giant buys British chicken and pork from suppliers owned by JBS, which recently admitted it would accept deforestation in its supply chain for another 14 years with "zero deforestation across its global supply chain by 2035".

Tesco also sells more soya-fed, factory-farmed meat than any other UK supermarket, Greenpeace said.

Soya continues to drive deforestation in critical ecosystems like the Brazilian Cerrado and is largely used as animal feed for industrial meat.

A Greenpeace spokesperson said: "Tesco has already failed to keep its promise of zero-deforestation by 2020 and its plans to buy soya ‘only from deforestation-free areas’ by 2025 are meaningless given the complete collapse in 2019 of talks involving traders like Cargill to agree protection for whole areas from soya." 

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We are committed to playing our part to prevent further deforestation, and all of our suppliers must meet our stringent environmental and zero deforestation standards.

"We know there is more to do to tackle deforestation, which is why we’ve set a target to only source soy from verified zero deforestation regions by 2025, and recently played a leading role in the launch of the UK Soy Manifesto, which commits signatories to ensure all soy imported into the UK is deforestation and conversion-free by 2025 at the latest.”

A spokesperson for JBS Global said the company has a "highly sophisticated approach to due diligence" with geomonitoring tools "able to identify and monitor farm level transactions for compliance in line with strict protocols agreed with NGOs and state authorities".

"There is a strict responsible procurement policy at the point of purchase. Potential suppliers who are not compliant are automatically blocked, they said.

"We take all allegations seriously and are leading industry efforts to provide full supply chain visibility in Brazil– extending our monitoring and enforcement to indirect suppliers, those we have no direct relationship with, by 2025.

"This commitment has been brought forward due to the success of the programme roll out to date and will apply to all biomes in which we operate. We have also committed to net zero by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the industry average."