A group of mother pigs at feeding time. Production of animal feed is worsening the climate crisis.

Factory farming climate culprit JBS tops emissions scorecard of shame

Press release

JBS - the giant Brazilian global meat producer behind household brands including Pilgrim’s Pride, Moy Park, Seara and Primo - ranks as the worst of the worst polluters on World Animal Protection’s new Factory Farming Climate Culprits Scorecard.

Released today, the scorecard of shame ranks the world’s top five factory farming giants by the amount of harmful emissions released from their intensive chicken and pig meat production (combined they slaughter 11.5 billion chickens and 150 million pigs every year) and equates them to car numbers globally.

JBS is responsible for emissions equivalent to 14 million cars on the road each year - more than double the second-biggest factory farming emitter, China’s WH Group.

As our scorecard shows, the company is on course to fall far short of its own public pledge – which it proudly announced just two years ago - to help mitigate climate change by achieving net zero by 2040.

Furthermore, JBS has yet to reveal its strategic net zero plan to address emissions from its intensive production of animal feed for factory farms; as the scorecard shows, JBS’ animal feed footprint is equivalent to 7.8 million cars on the road each year.

Worse still, the company is yet to confirm how it will end destruction of wildlife habitat when sourcing animal feed and to guarantee against deforestation – whether legal or illegal. Its’ deforestation policy currently allows illegal deforestation of the Amazon region until 2025 and other parts of Brazil until 2030, with deforestation allowed elsewhere globally until 2035. This is despite being linked to multiple instances of habitat destruction in sourcing soy and corn for animal feed from Brazil.

World Animal Protection’s Head of Farming Campaign, Jacqueline Mills said:

“As our unique scorecard reveals, the five’s intensive meat operations – which drives the destruction of natural habitat to grow animal feed as well as inflicting animal cruelty - is equivalent to 36.4 million cars on the roads annually discharging harmful pollutants.

“JBS is currently the worst of the worst of these serial polluters - and what is made patently clear from our research is that factory farming is not compatible with a climate-safe future.”

Read about the top 5 climate culprits in the latest report

The scorecard shines light onto the five factory farming climate culprits as some prepare to submit their targets to the UN-backed Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), which validates the plans put forward by corporations on how they will achieve climate net zero.

World Animal Protection is concerned JBS will seek to exploit loopholes in the SBTi guidance when it submits its plans this year.

Because animal feed production is so emissions-intensive, the SBTi allows meat companies to record reduced emissions levels for every kilogram of meat produced by changing the feed formulations needed to get animals to slaughter weight.

However, these climate gains will be outweighed by big increases in overall climate impact as the production volume of meat increases.

Mills said: “It is imperative that the SBTi stops the meat industry from greenwashing. It should reject the JBS target outright and remove the loophole allowing this obvious fudge to increase overall emissions whilst claiming green credentials”.

Consumers are today urged to join World Animal Protection in calling on the scorecard of shame five to come clean on their emissions, including from animal feed.

They must:

  • Make robust commitments to stop destroying wild animal habitat and unlocking carbon to the atmosphere when land is cleared to grow crops to feed farmed animals.
  • Make publicly available credible climate action plans that account for emissions from animal feed and publicly report against them.
  • Stop producing more and more factory farmed meat and dairy. Instead, produce more plant-based foods and ensure animal products are high welfare to address the climate, biodiversity and food security crisis.
  • Stop the cruelty on remaining factory farms by meeting the FARMS animal welfare standards at minimum.

World Animal Protection is also calling on the SBTi to only approve climate action plans from companies that can demonstrate a robust plan towards reduced emissions.

The scorecard builds on data from World Animal Protection's Climate change and cruelty August 2022 report, which captured the environmental and climate change impacts of farmed pork and chicken meat production in the world’s four biggest factory farming hot spots - Brazil, China, the USA and the Netherlands (representing Europe).

For more information visit worldanimalprotection.org/scorecard-of-shame

Notes to Editors:

For more information, photos and videos or to arrange an interview with Jacqueline Mills please contact Peter Simpson internationalmediateam@worldanimalprotection.org.

  • JBS (including Seara, Pilgrim’s Pride and JBS Pork) comes in at first place in the scorecard, with emissions equivalent to 13.9 million cars on the road each year.
  • China’s WH Group, which owns the global giant Smithfield Foods, is at second place emitting the equivalent of seven million cars.
  • Brasil’s BRF Foods is ranked just under WH Group in third place, with emissions equivalent to 6.5 million cars.
  • US owned Tyson Foods is ranked fourth and responsible for six million cars’ worth of pollution, and China’s New Hope Group is at number five, with the equivalent of 3.1 million cars per year.
  • Most overall emissions for meat companies tend to come from animal feed production which is highly emissions intensive. So far, whilst several meat companies have climate net zero commitments, few publicly report on emissions from animal feed production (known as ‘Scope 3’).
  • The scorecard identifies the five biggest chicken meat processors and the five biggest pork meat processors globally by number of animals slaughtered. Some of these companies process both chicken and pork meat, and others specialise in either chicken or pork.
  • Danish Crown is the fifth biggest pork processor globally but does not feature on the chicken meat processor list. When the emissions associated with chicken and/or pork processing for each company are tallied up, Danish Crown falls into sixth position overall.

The scorecard, which will be monitored, has been compiled and assessed using life cycle assessment methodology that takes into account country-specific emissions profiles for pig and poultry production. It is based on the report, Environmental implications of alternative pork and meat production systems in the US, China, Brazil and the EU commissioned by World Animal Protection in 2022. A summary of findings is compiled in World Animal Protection’s Climate change and cruelty report released in 2022.

This means the scorecard has a high degree of integrity - even in the absence of full transparency from these companies on their production volumes and reported emissions.

The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) is the world’s leading initiative to assess the pathways of companies to reduce emissions in line with what is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Read the full report here

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