Agriculture en Resolving the Food Crisis: Assessing Global Policy Reforms Since 2007 <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/timothy-wise" hreflang="en">Timothy Wise</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/sophia-murphy" hreflang="en">Sophia Murphy</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h3>Executive summary</h3> <p>The recent spikes in global food-prices in 2007-08 served as a wake-up call to the global community on the inadequacies of our global food system. Commodity prices doubled, the estimated number of hungry people topped one billion and food riots spread through the developing world. A second price spike in 2010-11, which is expected to drive the global food import bill for 2011 to an astonishing $1.3 trillion, only deepened the sense that the policies and principles guiding agricultural development and food security were deeply flawed. </p> <p>There is now widespread agreement that international agricultural prices will remain significantly higher than precrisis levels for at least the next decade, with many warning that demand will outstrip supply by 2050 unless concerted action is taken to address the underlying problems with our food system.</p> <p>The crisis certainly awakened the global community. Since 2007, governments and international agencies have made food security a priority issue, and with a decidedly different tone. They stress the importance of agricultural development and food production in developing countries, the key role of small-scale farmers and women, the challenge of limited resources in a climate-constrained world, the important role of the state in “country-led” agricultural development programs, the critical role of public investment. For many, these priorities represent a sea change from policies that sought to free markets from government policies seen as hampering efficient resource allocation. Now that those policies and markets have failed to deliver food security, the debates over how countries and international institutions should manage our food system are more open than they have been in decades.</p> <p>The purpose of this report is to look beyond the proclamations and communiqués to assess what has really changed since the crisis erupted. While not exhaustive, the report looks at: Overseas Development Assistance, both in terms of how much and what is funded; Multilateral Development Banks’ policies and programs; selected U.N. agencies and initiatives, notably the Committee on Food Security (CFS); the G-20 group of economically powerful governments; and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, who has injected a resonant “right to food” approach to the issue.</p> <p> </p> <ul><li>low levels of investment in developing-country agriculture in general and small-scale agriculture in particular; </li> <li>reduced support for publicly funded research and development and increased reliance on private research;</li> <li>a reliance on international trade to meet domestic food needs in poor countries that can ill-afford the import dependence and declining local production; </li> <li> <div>a bias toward cash crops for export over food production for domestic markets; </div> </li> <li> <div>increasing land use for non-food agricultural crops such as biofuels for industrial uses;</div> </li> <li> <div>support for high-input agricultural methods over more environmentally sustainable low-input systems; </div> </li> <li> <div>inadequate attention to the linkages between climate change and food security; and </div> </li> <li> <div>deregulation of commodity markets and increasing financial speculation in agricultural commodities,  including staple food crops as well as land.</div> </li> </ul><h4>Findings</h4> <div>Our review suggests that on the positive side, the food crisis was an important catalyst for change. As high prices persisted and public protest mounted, many governments were confronted with “moments of truth,” the cumulative result of which was to question some of the assumptions that had driven food and agriculture policy over the past few decades. This prompted renwed attention to agricultural development, reversing the long-standing neglect of agriculture as a vital economic sector. It also brought some important new funding, though at levels still far short of what is needed. </div> <div> </div> <div>The stated priorities for much of that funding suggest distinct improvement over the policies of the past few decades. The needs and political voices of small-scale farmers and women; environmental issues, including climate change; and, the weaknesses of international markets now receive more attention. The additional funding for these important areas is also driven by greater openness to country-led programs with strong state involvement, a marked change from past priorities. </div> <div> </div> <div>Our review suggests areas of great concern, though. We see neither the necessary urgency nor the willingness to change policies that contributed to the recent crisis. New international funding is welcome, but only $6.1 billion of the G-8’s pledged $22 billion, three-year commitment represents new money, and those pledges have been slow to materialize and are now threatened with cutbacks as developed countries adopt austerity measures. The overwhelming priority is to increase production. There are reasons to focus on this, specifically within low-income net-food importing countries. The setting of production targets at the global level, however, encourages an expansion in industrial agriculture and the consolidation of land holdings, including land grabs, and ignores environmental constraints and equity issues. </div> <div> </div> <div>Beyond funding, we find that the policies that contributed to the recent food-price crisis have gone largely unchanged, leaving global food security as fragile as ever. The world needs policies that discourage biofuels expansion, regulate financial speculation, limit irresponsible land investments, encourage the use of buffer stocks, move away from fossil fuel dependence and toward agro-ecological practices, and reform global agricultural trade rules to support rather than undermine food security objectives. </div> <div> </div> <div>Unfortunately, we find that the international institutions reviewed have shown too little resolve to address these issues. Although at the G-20 the world’s most economically powerful nations have asserted leadership on food security, their actions have been tepid if not counterproductive. This has had a chilling effect on reform efforts elsewhere in the international system, most notably at the United Nations. This raises important governance issues. The U.N.’s CFS is formally recognized by most institutions as the appropriate body to </div> <div>coordinate the global response to the food crisis, because of both its mandate and its inclusive, multi- takeholder structure. Yet in practice the G-20 has systematically constrained the reform agenda. Similarly, the WTO’s recent efforts to give the Doha Agenda more relevance by including food security issues in the form of restrictions on exporting countries’ use of export tariffs have failed, because many of the exporters (most of the G-20 members) refuse to surrender that policy space. Not surprisingly, importing countries’ wish for the same policy space with regard to their imports are now more determined than ever to insist on their rights.</div> <div> </div> <div>The recent food-price crisis exposed the fragility of the global food system. A paradigm shift is underway, caused by the deepening integration of agricultural, energy and financial markets in a resource-constrained world made more vulnerable by climate change. Powerful multinational firms dominate these markets. Many benefit from current policies and practices and their interests are a dominant influence in national and global policies—slowing, diverting, or halting needed action. This leaves international institutions promoting market-friendly reforms but resistant to imposing the concomitant regulations required to ensure well-functioning food and agricultural markets.</div> <div> </div> <div> <div>Three areas in particular demand decisive action:</div> <ul><li>Biofuels expansion – There is a clear international consensus that current policies to encourage biofuel expansion, particularly in the United States and Europe, are a major contributor to rising demand, tight supplies and rising prices. Yet international institutions, from the G-20 to the U.N. High-Level Task Force to the CFS, have diluted their demands for actions to address this problem.</li> <li>Price volatility – High spikes in prices remain a major problem for poor people worldwide, and for foodimporting developing countries in particular. The policy goal, for effective market functioning and for food security, should be relatively stable prices that are remunerative to farmers and affordable to consumers. We find few concrete actions toward this goal. There is strong evidence that financial speculation contributed to recent food-price volatility, though there remains considerable debate on the subject. As an FAO report on the topic noted, there is no demonstrated benefit to the public of allowing such speculation, and the potential costs are huge. Precautionary regulations are warranted but few have been taken. Similarly, the lack of publicly held food reserves contributes to the shortages that make speculation possible while leaving vulnerable countries at risk. Reserves should be explored more actively than simply as emergency regional humanitarian policy instruments. </li> <li>Land grabs – The scale and pace of land grabs is truly alarming, driven by financial speculation and land-banking by sovereign wealth funds in resource-constrained nations. The consensus is that such investments are not good for either food security or development. As laudable as recent efforts are to promote “responsible agricultural investment,” these initiatives risk being “too little too late” for a fast-moving phenomenon. Meanwhile, international institutions, such as the World Bank, must do more to protect smallscale producers’ access to land. </li> </ul><div> </div> <div>Fortunately, many developing countries are not waiting for international action or permission to more aggressively address the problems that can be dealt with at a national or regional level. Many of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) projects in Africa, for example, emphasize the kinds of changes that are needed. CAADP has four pillars: land and water management, market access, food supply and hunger, and agricultural research. Bangladesh and other countries used food reserves to reduce the impact of the food-price spikes in far more ambitious efforts than the G-20 is proposing to support in West Africa. </div> <div> </div> <div>Developing-country governments will be central to bringing about such changes. They need the policy space to pursue their own solutions and they need the support of the international community to demand deeper reform in developed-country policies. The evidence discussed in this report suggests the paradigm shift has started but is incomplete. Many developing-country governments have chosen to step away from the prevailing orthodoxy of the last several decades and are again exploring a larger role for the public sector in governing agriculture and food. Donors, too, have shown some willingness to re-order priorities and to give greater space to agriculture, and to changing priorities within agricultural spending to acknowledge the need for more inclusive and sustainable outcomes. But they still resist more fundamental reform and continue to promote private investment and liberalized markets, relying on humanitarian aid and social safety nets to try to help those who are displaced by the policies.</div> <div> </div> <div>Perhaps not surprisingly, developed-country governments have yet to make the needed changes to their domestic policies. Comfortable with re-ordering development priorities, governments of rich countries have proved unwilling to look at their domestic agricultural economies to see what changes are needed there. If the most powerful countries are not willing to make the changes at home that would help international markets perform better, they should at a minimum stop undermining international efforts, at the U.N. and within </div> <div>and among developing countries, to address the fundamental causes of the food crisis.</div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-upload field--type-file field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Upload</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf icon-before"><span class="file-icon"><span class="icon glyphicon glyphicon-file text-primary" aria-hidden="true"></span></span><span class="file-link"><a href="" type="application/pdf; length=885806" title="Open file in new window" target="_blank" data-toggle="tooltip" data-placement="bottom">2012_01_17_ResolvingFoodCrisis_SM_TW.pdf</a></span><span class="file-size">865.04 KB</span></span></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 18 Jan 2012 15:48:00 +0000 Andrew Ranallo 41680 at Behind the curtain of the JBS net zero pledge <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category has-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/ben-lilliston" hreflang="en">Ben Lilliston</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-feature"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/feat/public/2021-10/JBS_Mizzou%20CAFNR.jpg?itok=mKvky-6i" width="950" height="590" alt="JBS logo" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-credit-flickr field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Used under creative commons license from <a href=" CAFNR">Mizzou CAFNR</a></div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p class="normal">JBS is the largest meat company in the world. While headquartered in Brazil, it has over 450 facilities and offices in more than 20 countries. The company’s latest financial report touts its global capacity to feed a projected 2.8 billion people by 2050.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-001-backlink">1</span></span></sup> Each day, its global operations process 42,700 head of cattle, 92,600 hogs and 8.7 million birds. For JBS, the future means a 70% increase in protein consumption and escalating profits due to rising incomes around the world. The company’s second quarter of 2021 was its biggest ever in terms of sales and net profit.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-002-backlink">2</span></span></sup></p> <p class="normal">The rise of JBS as a global meat powerhouse, driven by investments from the Brazilian National Development Bank, has been rapid over the last 15 years.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-003-backlink">3</span></span></sup> The company produces far more meat than any other agribusiness in the world. Its mammoth production mirrors its climate footprint. A 2018 report by IATP and GRAIN found that JBS was the largest corporate meat and dairy emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the world by a significant amount.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-004-backlink">4</span></span></sup> The company’s emissions were linked not only to animal production (including associated feed, manure and distribution), but also to deforestation and wetland destruction (particularly in Brazil).</p> <p class="normal">So, in March 2021, when the company promised to reach net zero for its GHG emissions by 2040 — the boldest climate commitment of any major meat company — it raised eyebrows.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-005-backlink">5</span></span></sup> The company has made environmental commitments to stop deforestation before, only to backtrack a few years later.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-006-backlink">6</span></span></sup> The company’s 2040 pledge includes no plan to slow its rapid growth in meat production. In fact, soon after JBS made its climate commitment, the company announced a new $130 million investment to expand processing capacity (by 300,000 head of cattle per year total) at two of its U.S. beef processing plants.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-007-backlink">7</span></span></sup></p> <p class="normal">JBS is not alone in making new promises to reduce its climate footprint. It is but one of hundreds of companies around the world promising to reach “net zero” at some future date, often well after current executives have left office.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-008-backlink">8</span></span></sup> Net zero accounting, enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement,<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-009-backlink">9</span></span></sup> has led to a slew of recent corporate promises from big meat and dairy companies, but will these pledges result in actual emission reductions that meet the urgency of the climate crisis?</p> <p class="normal">The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report issued in August warns that it is “code red” in responding to the climate crisis.<sup><span class="CharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-010-backlink">10</span></span></sup> We need to take urgent action to reduce emissions dramatically in the next 10 to 20 years to avoid climate catastrophe. The IPCC finds that efforts to reduce the potent GHG methane, a major source of emissions from the factory farm system favored by big meat and dairy companies like JBS, could have a big impact in protecting the planet. Methane is a short-lived pollutant, staying in the atmosphere less than 12 years, while carbon dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for over 100 years. Sharp reductions in methane pollution now can bring quick benefits and slow the climate crisis as we continue to reduce carbon levels. For agriculture, it requires a dramatic transition away from the factory farm system of production, toward appropriately-scaled agroecological systems – a shift that would ultimately reduce the number of animals raised for food.</p> <p class="normal">An examination of the JBS climate pledge exposes the loopholes, accounting tricks and sleight of hand that net zero accounting allows, ultimately aiding companies that hope to continue business (and pollution) as usual while putting the world’s climate at risk.</p> <h2>What are the details of JBS’ net zero commitment?</h2> <p class="normal">In March 2021, JBS pledged to reach net zero by 2040, through emission reductions in their operations and by offsetting all residual emissions.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-011-backlink">11</span></span></sup> The commitment spans the company’s operations around the globe (North and South America, the U.K., Australia, Europe and New Zealand), including its Pilgrim’s Pride poultry division. The commitment includes its “value chain” from producers to suppliers to customers.</p> <p class="normal">Gilberto Tomazoni, JBS global chief executive officer, announced, “As one of the most diversified global food companies, we have an opportunity to leverage our scale and influence to help lead a sustainable transformation of agricultural markets that empowers producers, suppliers, customers and consumers.”<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-012-backlink">12</span></span></sup></p> <p class="normal">JBS pledged it will provide a time-bound roadmap that offers interim targets consistent with the criteria set forth by the Science Based Targets initiative (a global effort to set common measurement metrics among companies) for a 1.5°C trajectory. The SBTi website indicates that JBS submitted its commitment in June 2021 but has not yet had its targets and plan officially validated and made public by SBTi as of September 2021.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-013-backlink">13</span></span></sup> The company has signed onto the U.N. Global Compact’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C (a collaboration between the U.N. and companies).<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-014-backlink">14</span></span></sup> JBS also committed to providing annual updates on progress to ensure transparency. And the company will ultimately disclose its financial risks linked to climate change, in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure initiative (a global effort to set guidelines for companies reporting climate risk).<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-015-backlink">15</span></span></sup> JBS’ 2020 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission did not include detailed information about climate risk, referring only to “climate” as one of several factors effecting commodity and cattle prices.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-016-backlink">16</span></span></sup> But the company’s 2020 submission to the Carbon Disclosure Project does include details on climate risks to feed, pasture, supply chains, reputation and regulatory environments, among others.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-017-backlink">17</span></span></sup></p> <h2>JBS says the strategies the company will use to reach its 2040 net zero goal include:</h2> <ul><li class="Bulleted-list"><span class="Inline-heading"><strong>Reduce direct emissions in its processing facilities:</strong> </span>JBS will reduce its global scope 1 (direct emissions from activities) and scope 2 (emissions related to purchase of energy/fuel) emission intensity by at least 30% by 2030 against base year 2019.</li> <li class="Bulleted-list"><span class="Inline-heading"><strong>Use 100% renewable electricity in its facilities:</strong> </span>JBS will convert to 100% renewable electricity across its global facilities by 2040 (60% by 2030).</li> <li class="Bulleted-list"><strong><span class="Inline-heading">Eliminate deforestation:</span> </strong>JBS will eliminate illegal Amazon deforestation from its supply chain — including from its secondary suppliers of cattle — by 2025 and illegal deforestation in other Brazilian biomes by 2030. The company will achieve zero deforestation across its global supply chain by 2035.</li> <li class="Bulleted-list"><strong><span class="Inline-heading">Invest in the future: </span></strong>JBS will invest more than $1 billion by 2030 in incremental capital expenditures in emission reduction projects in the company’s facilities.</li> <li class="Bulleted-list"><strong><span class="Inline-heading">Foster innovation:</span> </strong>JBS will invest $100 million by 2030 in research, technology and development projects to assist producer efforts to strengthen and scale regenerative farming practices, including carbon sequestration and on-farm emission mitigation technologies. This investment will contribute to reducing scope 3 emissions (from purchased ingredients/products like animal feed or deforestation linked to cattle expansion) across the value chain, in efforts toward net zero.</li> <li class="Bulleted-list"><strong><span class="Inline-heading">Ensure accountability:</span></strong> Across the company, performance against environmental goals, including GHG emission reduction targets, will be part of senior executive compensation considerations.</li> </ul><h2>Does JBS’ net zero pledge hold up?</h2> <p class="normal">In our 2018 Emissions Impossible report, we found that JBS was publicly reporting only 3% of the emissions IATP and GRAIN calculated using globally accepted methodology.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-018-backlink">18</span></span></sup> We wondered whether the new JBS net zero pledge would capture more of their actual emissions. A few things jump out from JBS’ pledge that are typical of many net zero pledges: The lack of specifics, timelines, and details on how the commitments will be verified and how they will be held accountable. Let’s examine some of the primary issues:</p> <p class="normal"><strong><span class="Inline-heading">Fixing the baseline –</span> </strong>One of the real impediments to tracking JBS’ net zero pledge is the lack of a clear baseline of emissions to track progress. The pledge doesn’t clearly state what the baseline year is for the company’s overall emissions.</p> <p class="normal"><strong><span class="Inline-heading">Who’s counting? –</span> </strong>Like many net zero pledges, it appears the company is doing the number counting on emissions, whether directly reduced, within the supply chain or via offsets. There is no independent third-party audit to ensure any claims about emissions cuts are credible. Third-party credibility is particularly important for a company like JBS (see section below on the company’s dubious track record).</p> <p class="normal"><strong><span class="Inline-heading">Excluding livestock –</span></strong> In the company’s 2020 Sustainability Report, JBS states that it does not track “enteric and manure emissions from our live animal operations” in its climate footprint. If this holds true for the company’s 2040 net zero pledge, JBS has excluded a major source of emissions through livestock and associated manure.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-019-backlink">19</span></span></sup> IATP reached out to JBS for clarification, but received no response. This omission would be pivotal and positions the company to continue expanding meat production, even as it claims to be on the road to net zero.</p> <p class="normal"><strong><span class="Inline-heading">Accounting games with emissions intensity —</span> </strong>JBS has made more specific claims about reducing its energy intensity, a way to track per kilowatt of energy required to do some aspect of their business. The problem is if overall production continues to expand, even with improvements in emissions intensity, the company can still see emissions grow. JBS has committed to reduce its energy intensity by 30% by 2030 at its processing facilities. But if the company expands its processing capacity overall, it may actually increase overall emissions. For example, JBS’ 2020 sustainability report claimed it reduced its electricity emissions intensity in its U.S. operations by 20% from 2015, but increased its overall U.S. operations’ electricity emissions from 1.039 trillion kWh to 1.176 trillion kWh during that period.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-020-backlink">20</span></span></sup></p> <p class="normal">Even within the energy intensity metric, the company’s energy intensity actually increased by 4% from 2019 to 2020, according to the sustainability report. By focusing on emissions intensity, instead of overall emissions, the pledge obscures critical information needed to validate any net zero claim.</p> <p class="normal"><strong><span class="Inline-heading">Unending growth? – </span></strong>JBS’ remarkable growth over the last 15 years has led to our estimate that it is the largest GHG emitter among meat and dairy companies in the world. Nowhere in the company’s pledge does it discuss plans to slow growth. In fact, its financial reporting, including its most recent second quarter 2021 report, cite the need to expand to meet the needs of what it views as the growing protein sector due to rising global incomes. It does not discuss alternative ways of raising animals, such as the integration of agroecology in the use of scale-appropriate, well-managed pastures that benefit the environment. It does not discuss a transition away from the polluting concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) system, where thousands of animals are packed together, often indoors, producing enormous amounts of manure. The resulting giant manure lagoons exceed what can appropriately be used on the land as fertilizer, often running off and polluting waterways. Instead, JBS looks forward to continued growth of its current extractive system of production that is dependent on factory farming and associated deforestation.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-021-backlink">21</span></span></sup></p> <p class="normal"><strong><span class="Inline-heading">Banking on carbon sinks –</span> </strong>The latest IPCC report on the climate crisis outlines the limits of relying on land and water as carbon sinks to reduce global emissions.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-022-backlink">22</span></span></sup> The IPCC report makes clear that as carbon levels rise in the atmosphere, our ability to sequester carbon diminishes. Increasing climate-related events themselves, whether drought or flooding, impact our ability to use the land as a sink. JBS pledges to invest in unnamed projects to promote regenerative agriculture that will sequester carbon. It also pledges to meet any gaps in its climate pledge through offsets. Missing is any estimate of how much of its 2040 net zero goal depends on using land as a carbon sink. It is critical that companies distinguish between actual emission reductions and increasingly questionable land-based offsets in reaching their climate goals. If the commitment is heavily reliant on land-based offsets, it weakens the integrity of the pledge significantly.</p> <p class="normal"><strong><span class="Inline-heading">Deforestation continues </span><span class="Inline-heading">—</span></strong><span class="Inline-heading"> </span>JBS openly admits in its 2040 pledge that it contributes to illegal deforestation as part of its regular, current operations. JBS promises to eliminate illegal deforestation in its supply chain by 2025. The promise has drawn some skepticism. The company made a similar promise in 2009, only to renege on that commitment, reports Greenpeace.<sup><span class="endnote-reference CharOverride-2"><span id="endnote-023-backlink">23</span></span></sup> Moreover, its practices along with other meat processors continue to drive the Amazon region towards a “tipping point” when the region will become a net-emitter, worsening the climate crisis, rather than serving as a key reservoir for storing carbon.<sup><span class="endnote-reference CharOverride-2"><span id="endnote-024-backlink">24</span></span></sup> The company should halt illegal deforestation immediately. It doesn’t need four years. The company’s pledge also reveals that it plans to continue to allow its operations to drive deforestation around the world for another 14 years, finally ending in 2035. This is an unacceptable outcome on an unacceptable timeline for the climate crisis.</p> <p class="normal">Additionally, Greenpeace International (GI) points out that the pledge does not mention the intentional use of fire to clear land. A GI investigation linked JBS and other meat companies to purchasing cattle linked to 2020 fires in the Pantanal region of Brazil, the world’s largest contiguous wetland.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-025-backlink">25</span></span></sup></p> <p class="normal"><strong><span class="Inline-heading">Defining renewable energy </span><span class="Inline-heading">—</span> </strong>JBS pledges to power its facilities around the world with 100% renewable energy by 2040 (60% by 2030). But what does the company count as renewable energy? There has been a major push by meat and dairy companies to categorize methane gas captured from giant manure lagoons as renewable energy. This factory farm gas is highly controversial for several reasons, including research indicating that they are prone to leak methane.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-026-backlink">26</span></span></sup> They are tied to large-scale animal production that results in huge manure lagoons, which have been associated with water pollution,<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-027-backlink">27</span></span></sup> air pollution<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-028-backlink">28</span></span></sup> and quality of life threats to rural residents.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-029-backlink">29</span></span></sup> Instead of transitioning away from this harmful system, factory farm gas incentivizes the production of more concentrated manure and its water and air pollution. Additionally, factory farm gas is often piped into natural gas pipelines, allowing the natural gas industry to make claims of providing “renewable energy or fuel,” while continuing its own methane emissions.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-030-backlink">30</span></span></sup></p> <p class="normal">JBS claims that 12 of its facilities use manure lagoons to produce factory farm gas to generate energy and features its latest digestor at Brooks Lagoon (JBS Canada) in its 2020 sustainability report.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-031-backlink">31</span></span></sup> JBS’ climate plan appears reliant on the expansion of its factory farm gas production that it classifies as renewable and counts toward the company’s 100% renewable energy goal.</p> <h2>What is JBS’ record on the environment and commitments?</h2> <p class="normal">JBS has been making environmental-related promises for over a decade. In 2009, the company made its first pledge on a moratorium for buying cattle raised on recently deforested land in Brazil.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-032-backlink">32</span></span></sup> The commitment included a promise for fully transparent monitoring and reporting. That pledge was to eliminate deforestation linked to its Amazon supply chain. It was never fulfilled. Greenpeace reports that JBS has repeatedly been linked to illegal deforestation and operating illegally on protected indigenous land.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-033-backlink">33</span></span></sup> A 2020 Global Witness report also tied JBS supply chains to illegal deforestation and purchases from ranchers accused of human rights abuses.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-034-backlink">34</span></span></sup> As recent as October 2021, Brazilian federal prosecutors concluded that in 2020 JBS purchased over 300,000 cattle from ranches with “irregularities,” including illegal deforestation in the Amazon region, and that the situation was worsening.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-035-backlink">35</span></span></sup></p> <p class="normal">Along with several other meat companies in Brazil, JBS promised a certification system that stopped purchases linked to slave labor and on protected land. According to Mighty Earth’s soy and cattle deforestation tracker in Brazil, JBS ranks the lowest among meat companies with a score of 1 out of 100.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-036-backlink">36</span></span></sup> The organization estimates that more than half of those deforestation cases were possibly illegal. JBS continues to refuse to disclose its suppliers, so tracking the company’s record on deforestation is painstakingly difficult.</p> <h2>What is JBS’ record on violations?</h2> <p class="normal">Aside from environmental commitments unmet, JBS also has a remarkable record of flouting the law over the last decade. The JBS compliance program has a motto, “Always do the right thing,” touted in its 2020 annual report.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-037-backlink">37</span></span></sup> But a cursory review of just recent legal entanglements the company has faced raises skepticism about the commitment to that motto — and whether the company will comply with its net zero pledge. It also raises questions about whether all corporate net zero pledges should include a commitment to comply with environmental, labor and competition laws. Here are a few highlights of recent problems at JBS:</p> <ul><li class="Bulleted-list">In 2017, the company paid $3.2 billion related to its role in a major corruption scandal in Brazil, including the bribing of finance officials to obtain government-backed loans.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-038-backlink">38</span></span></sup></li> <li class="Bulleted-list">In 2019, the USDA found JBS violated the Packers and Stockyards Act by under-weighing and under-paying Nebraska farmers’ beef carcasses.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-039-backlink">39</span></span></sup></li> <li class="Bulleted-list">In 2019, JBS knowingly sold pentobarbital-adulterated beef tallow to pet food makers.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-040-backlink">40</span></span></sup></li> <li class="Bulleted-list">In 2019, it was revealed that for 60 straight months, a JBS Colorado beef processing plant violated state and federal water discharge rules.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-041-backlink">41</span></span></sup></li> <li class="Bulleted-list">Later in 2020, JBS settled charges with the Security Exchange Commission over Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations for $27 million.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-042-backlink">42</span></span></sup></li> <li class="Bulleted-list">In 2020, its poultry division Pilgrim’s Pride in Tennessee was fined for three violations involving odor.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-043-backlink">43</span></span></sup></li> <li class="Bulleted-list">In 2020, the company was fined multiple times by the Department of Labor<sup><span class="endnote-reference CharOverride-2"><span id="endnote-044-backlink">44</span></span></sup> for failing to adequately protect its employees during the pandemic, including at its Colorado plant, Green Bay, Wisconsin plant<sup><span class="endnote-reference CharOverride-2"><span id="endnote-045-backlink">45</span></span></sup> and Texas plant.<sup><span class="endnote-reference CharOverride-2"><span id="endnote-046-backlink">46</span></span></sup></li> <li class="Bulleted-list">In 2020, a Judge in Brazil ordered JBS to pay $3.6 million fine in connection with a COVID-19 outbreak for not providing adequate worker protections.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-047-backlink">47</span></span></sup></li> <li class="Bulleted-list">In 2020, six executives of JBS’ poultry division Pilgrim’s Pride were personally indicted on federal price-fixing charges.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-048-backlink">48</span></span></sup></li> <li class="Bulleted-list">Later in 2020, Pilgrim’s Pride paid a $110 million fine to settle federal price fixing charges in poultry markets.<sup><span class="endnote-reference CharOverride-2"><span id="endnote-049-backlink">49</span></span></sup></li> <li class="Bulleted-list">Earlier in 2021, JBS’s Wild Fork Foods settled charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over a race discrimination and retaliation case.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-050-backlink">50</span></span></sup></li> <li class="Bulleted-list">In June 2021, the company settled a wage-fixing case, charging that it had conspired to keep workers’ wages low.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-051-backlink">51</span></span></sup></li> <li class="Bulleted-list">In July 2021, JBS agreed to pay $12.7 million to settle pork price-fixing charges.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-052-backlink">52</span></span></sup></li> </ul><h2>What lessons can be learned from JBS’ net zero commitment, by companies and countries?</h2> <p class="normal">Article 41 of the Paris Climate Agreement says that countries must reach net zero emissions through reductions in polluting sources combined with the use of carbon sinks (or offsetting emissions) through the sequestration of carbon — whether through forestry or agriculture. As the JBS commitment shows, the murkiness of net zero accounting, particularly when making future projections, has been attractive to many global corporations as a way to reduce climate scrutiny. Increasingly, corporate net zero claims are coming under heavy criticism as nothing more than greenwashing.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-053-backlink">53</span></span></sup></p> <p class="normal">For example, net zero accounting has been embraced by the American Petroleum Institute and other fossil fuel companies.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-054-backlink">54</span></span></sup> Earlier this year, Shell Oil made a dramatic net zero by 2050 pledge, despite projecting to expand gas production.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-055-backlink">55</span></span></sup> The company plans to offset its production by planting trees and yet-to-be-developed carbon capture technology. Shell has boasted of oil tankers that are “carbon neutral” by purchasing what turned out to be fake forestry-based offsets.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-056-backlink">56</span></span></sup> In fact, net zero accounting is so lax, even oil companies sourcing from the high emitting Canadian tar sands have put forth a net zero pledge by 2050 — again, remarkably they do not include any reductions in tar sands oil production.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-057-backlink">57</span></span></sup> The claims have become so outrageous, the Australian gas company Santos Ltd is now being sued by environmental groups for deceptive claims at the country’s Federal Court.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-058-backlink">58</span></span></sup></p> <p class="normal">Companies are not just using net zero pledges to avoid scrutiny from shareholders and investors, they are starting to use these commitments to raise capital. Earlier this year, JBS issued a Sustainability-Linked Bond, linked to its net zero climate goals. The bond raised many questions from investors given JBS’ history.<sup><span class="CharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-059-backlink">59</span></span></sup> But there is no clear penalty if the company doesn’t reach its sustainability goals. It must only demonstrate it made a good faith effort to reach them.</p> <h2>Moving from net zero to real climate action</h2> <p class="normal">The JBS net zero pledge, along with the fossil fuel industry’s embrace of net zero accounting, should raise concerns about whether voluntary corporate pledges are a meaningful, or even useful, strategy to meet our global climate goals. The recent proposal by the Netherlands to cut back its livestock numbers by one-third to reduce its ammonia pollution stands in sharp contrast to net zero pledges.<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-060-backlink">60</span></span></sup> Most governments continue to be reluctant to set strong regulatory limits (with resources for enforcement) on powerful sectors of the economy that are responsible for growing climate emissions. In the case of meat and dairy production, strong action from governments should include:</p> <ul><li class="Bulleted-list">Strong and enforceable rules against deforestation, including agriculture-driven deforestation;</li> <li class="Bulleted-list">Regulatory limits on factory farm methane emissions, particularly large-scale dairy and hog production that liquifies its manure;<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-061-backlink">61</span></span></sup></li> <li class="Bulleted-list">Regulatory limits on fertilizer nitrous oxide emissions, particularly the excess use of nitrogen fertilizer often linked to animal feed production worldwide;<sup><span class="endnote-reference _idGenCharOverride-1"><span id="endnote-062-backlink">62</span></span></sup></li> <li class="Bulleted-list">Public investments in aiding farmers and rural communities in a transition toward agroecological-based systems of raising animals.</li> </ul><p class="normal">These types of national-level policies could provide real, measurable reductions in emissions that meet the urgency of the climate crisis. As countries and companies ratchet up their climate commitments as part of the Paris Climate Agreement, we urge them to put aside corporate net zero claims and focus on setting strong policies that result in real, actual emissions reductions and climate resilience and that better match the urgency of the climate crisis.</p> <h2>Endnotes</h2> <ol><li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-001">JBS. First Quarter 2021 Results, Institutional Presentation. Accessed 10/6/2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-002">Figueiredo, Nayara; Mano, Ana. “Brazil’s JBS Posts Strong Q2 Earnings, Hails Best Quarter in History.” Yahoo/Finance. August 11, 2021. <a href=""></a> </span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-003">Sharma, Shefali; Schlesinger, Sergio. The Rise of Big Meat: Brazil’s Extractive Industry. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, FASE, Heinrich Boll Stiftung. 2017. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-004">Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, GRAIN. <span class="Book-italics">Emissions Impossible: How Big Meat and Dairy Are Heating Up the Planet</span>. 2018. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-005">JBS. “JBS Makes Global Commitment to Reach Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 2040.” March 23, 2021. <a href=""></a> </span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-006">Estrada, Rodrigo. “Greenpeace Brazil Suspends Negotiations With Cattle Giant JBS.” Greenpeace. March 23, 2017. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-007">JBS USA. JBS USA Invests in US Beef Capacity and Permanent Increased Wages. Global Newswire. June 9, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-008">Climate Land Ambition and Rights Alliance (CLARA). Net Zero Files. Accessed 10/6/2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-009">United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Paris Climate Agreement. 2015. <a href=""></a> </span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-010">Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). <span class="Book-italics">Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis</span>. 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-011">JBS. “JBS Makes Global Commitment to Reach Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 2040.” March 23, 2021. <a href=""></a> </span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-012">JBS. “JBS Makes Global Commitment to Reach Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 2040.” March 23, 2021. <a href=""></a> </span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-013">Science Based Target Initiative. Companies Taking Action. Accessed 10/6/2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-014">UN Global Compact. Business Ambition for 1.5C. Accessed 10/6/2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-015">Financial Stability Board, Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosure. Recommendations. Accessed 10/6/2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-016">JBS. JBS 2020 Management Report and Financial Statements. Filed 3/24/2021. Accessed 10/6/2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-017">JBS S.A. Climate Change 2020. Carbon Disclosure Project. Accessed 10/6/2021. <a href=";discloser_id=855989&amp;locale=en&amp;organization_name=JBS+S.A&amp;organization_number=9730&amp;program=Investor&amp;project_year=2020&amp;;survey_id=68887525">;discloser_id=855989&amp;locale=en&amp;organization_name=JBS+S.A&amp;organization_number=9730&amp;program=Investor&amp;project_year=2020&amp;;surv…</a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-018">Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, <span class="Book-italics">GRAIN. Emissions Impossible: How Big Meat and Dairy Are Heating Up the Planet</span>. 2018. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-019">JBS. 2020 Sustainability Report, Energy and Emissions Chapter. Accessed 10/6/2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-020">Ibid.</span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-021">Sharma, Shefali; Schlesinger, Sergio. <span class="Book-italics">The Rise of Big Meat: Brazil’s Extractive Industry</span>. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, FASE, Heinrich Boll Stiftung. 2017. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-022">Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). <span class="Book-italics">Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. 2021</span>. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-023">Estrada, Rodrigo. “Greenpeace Brazil Suspends Negotiations With Cattle Giant JBS.” Greenpeace. March 23, 2017. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-024">Sharma, Shefali. Climate, Land Use Change and the EU-Mercosur Agreement: Accelerating Tipping Points. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. December 7, 2020. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-025">Greenpeace International. Making Mincemeat of the Pantanal. March 3, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-026">Gross, Liza. Can California Reduce Dairy Methane Emissions Equitably. Civil Eats. August 9, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-027">Boehm, Rebecca. Dirty Water, Degraded Soil: The Steep Cost of Farm Pollution and How Iowans Can Fix It Together. Union of Concerned Scientists. January 14, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-028">Douglas, Leah. “A Breathtaking Lack of Oversight From Air Emissions From Animal Farms.” The Food and Environment Reporting Network. December 20, 2019. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-029">Gross, Liza. Can California Reduce Dairy Methane Emissions Equitably. Civil Eats. August 9, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-030">Evans, Morgan. BP Looks to Build RNG Portfolio in Iowa and California. Natural Gas Intel. August 18, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-031">JBS. 2020 Sustainability Report, Energy and Emissions Chapter. Accessed 10/6/2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-032"><a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-033">Greenpeace International. <span class="Book-italics">How JBS is Still Slaughtering the Amazon</span>. August 2020. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-034">Global Witness. <span class="Book-italics">Beef, Banks and the Brazilian Amazon</span>. December 2020. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-035">Mano, Ana. “Brazil’s JBS Bought 301,000 Cattle From `Irregular’ Farms in Amazon, Audit Finds.” Reuters in Alberta Farmer Express. October 7, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-036">Mighty Earth. Soy and Cattle Deforestation Tracker. Accessed October 8, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-037">JBS. JBS 2020 Management Report and Financial Statements. Filed 3/24/2021. Accessed 10/6/2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-038">Brito, Ricardo. Brazil’s J&amp;F Agrees to Pay Record $3.2 Billion Fine in Leniency Deal. Reuters. May 31, 2017. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-039">Kelloway, Claire. JBS Shortchanges Nebraska Farmers, Violating the Packers and Stockyards Act. Food and Power. January 3, 2019. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-040">Entis, Phyllis. JBS Knowingly Distributed Products Containing Euthanasia Drug. Food Safety News. May 1, 2019. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-041">Kovaleski, Tony. Everyone in Colorado Should be Concerned About that Water: Meatpacking Plant Broke the Law for Five Years. The Denver Channel (ABC). November 19, 2019. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-042">U.S. Security and Exchange Commission. SEC Charges Brazilian Meat Producers with FCPA Violations. October 14, 2020. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-043">Pare, Mike. Pilgrim’s Pride Poultry Plants in Chattanooga Hit With Civil Penalties for Odor. Chattanooga Times Free Press. February 15, 2020. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-044">Department of Labor. U.S. Department of Labor Cites JBS Foods Inc. For Failure to Protect Employees From Exposure to the Coronavirus. 9/11/2020. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-045">Department of Labor. U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Announces $1,603,544 in Coronavirus Violations. 10/23/2020. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-046">Department of Labor. U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Announces $2,025,431 in Coronavirus Violations. 10/30/2020. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-047">Mano, Ana. JBS Ordered to Pay $3.6 million After Brazil Meat Plant’s Covid Outbreak. Reuters. March 19, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-048">Avery, Greg. “Second Pilgrim’s Pride ex CIO Embroiled in Federal Price Fixing Investigation.” <span class="Book-italics">Denver Business Journal</span>. 10/07/2020. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-049">Nelson, Eshe; Tejada, Carlos. “Pilgrim’s Pride to Pay $110 Million to Settle Charges of Fixing Chicken Prices.” <span class="Book-italics">New York Times.</span> 10/14/2020. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-050">U.S. Employment Equal Opportunity Commission. Wild Fork Foods to Pay $130K to Settle EEOC Suit for National Origin/Race Harassment and Retaliation. 5/04/2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-051">Leonard, Mike. Pilgrim’s Pride has Deal in Principle to Exit Wage Fixing Case. Bloomberg. June 16, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-052">Graber, Roy. JBS USA Agrees to Settle Pork Antitrust Lawsuit. WattAgNet. July 13, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-053">GRAIN. Corporate Greenwashing: Net Zero and Nature-Based Solutions are a Deadly Fraud. March 17, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-054">Foley, Jon. The World Needs Better Climate Pledges. June 16, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-055">Rockstrom, Johan; Whiteman, Gail. Shell’s Net Zero Plan Will be Judged on Science, Not Spin. Climate Change News. May 18, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-056">Hauter, Wenonah. Big Oil Wants You to Believe a Tanker Full of Fossil Fuel Can Be “Carbon Neutral”. Salon. June 13, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-057">Farand, Chloe. Tar Sands Companies Aim Net Zero by 2050 With No Plan to Extract Less Oil. Climate Change News. June 10, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-058">Paul, Sonali. Australian Environmental Group Sues Santos Over Clean Energy Claims. Reuters. August 26, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-059">West, Oliver. JBS Shows SLB Label Is Nothing Without Scrutiny. Global Capital. June 15, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-060">Boztas, Senay. “Netherlands Proposes Radical Plans to Cut Livestock Numbers by Almost a Third.” The Guardian. September 9, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-061">Public Justice. Climate, Environmental Justice Groups Call for Biden EPA to Hold Industrial Dairy and Hog Operations Accountable and to Reject Big Ag Technology. April 6, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> <li class="endnote"><span id="endnote-062">Ritchie, Hannah. Excess Fertilizer Use: Which Countries Cause Environmental Damage by Overapplying Fertilizers? Our World in Data. September 7, 2021. <a href=""></a></span></li> </ol><hr /><h3>Downloads</h3> <p><a href="">Download a PDF</a> of the article.</p> <p> </p> <hr /><h3>Check out the other pieces in IATP's Glasgow Series | COP26</h3> <ul><li><a href="">Searching for solidarity in global climate talks</a></li> <li><a href="">Enablers: Task Force on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets and Net Zero</a></li> <li><a href="">From Net Zero to Greenwash — Global Meat and Dairy Companies</a></li> <li><a href="">The International Emissions Trading Association and Net Zero</a></li> </ul></div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 21 Oct 2021 16:23:42 +0000 Colleen Borgendale 44668 at Growing not just more but growing it well: World Food Day <span>Growing not just more but growing it well: World Food Day</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Mon, 10/18/2021 - 12:04</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span>Every year on 16 October, the United Nations marks World Food Day. Around the world, national governments and local communities join in the celebrations and events, held to mark the founding of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and a moment in history when, in 1946, governments came together to commit to a united effort to end the scourge of hunger. Seventy-six years later, there is a lot to celebrate.</div> Mon, 18 Oct 2021 17:04:15 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44667 at Enablers: Task Force on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets and Net Zero <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category has-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/dr-steve-suppan" hreflang="en">Dr. Steve Suppan</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p class="normal">Who sets the rules for global carbon markets? Who gets to decide who sets the rules?</p> <p class="normal">Ever since the Paris Agreement was concluded in 2015, countries have argued about the set of rules and procedures that would govern international trade in carbon offsets. Industry groups have fought requirements that proceeds from this trade be used for further climate action. By contrast, many developing countries want to ensure that carbon trading doesn’t make it harder to reach their own nationally determined contribution [NDC] targets. Still, discussions on Article 6 continue [see ‘<a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Net Zero and Article 6</span></a>’].</p> <p class="normal">In 2020, the International Institute for Finance set up a task force to push for rules to govern carbon markets. The International Institute for Finance is a global lobby group of the finance industry. Its members include “commercial and investment banks, asset managers, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, central banks and development banks.” It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that the Task Force on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets [TSVCM] has generated recommendations that are very much in the interests of the big banks.</p> <p class="normal">But surely the United Nations wouldn’t give its blessing to rules designed by a corporate-dominated Task Force? Actually, the ‘instigator’ of the TSVCM is Mr. Mark Carney, the <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance</span></a>, who has promoted “net-zero solutions” as a great investment opportunity. He and his Task Force will likely play a prominent role at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations in Glasgow later in 2021.</p> <p class="normal">Two things important to note at the beginning. First, in the <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Summary of the TSVCM Phase II report</span></a>, the Task Force acknowledges that “Companies’ internal decarbonization and emissions reporting remain the priority with offset trading playing an important but complementary role.” But there’s no means for enforcing a prioritization on ‘internal decarbonization’, and the guidance from the TSVCM is all about how to make offsets work — with virtually no attention paid to the ‘priority’ of internal decarbonization.</p> <p class="normal">Second, the <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">TSVCM takes no position on contentious Article 6 issues</span></a>, such as the double counting of emissions offsets in Nationally Determined Contributions meetings, or ‘use of proceeds’ for climate action. However, TSVCM members who are also members of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) will be lobbying on Article 6 to make sure it provides a way to expand the market envisioned by TSVCM [see ‘<a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Net Zero and the IETA</span></a>’]. The implied threat is that if Parties cannot agree to Article 6 rules, then the rules set by the Task Force should govern these global markets in future.</p> <p class="normal">So what does the Task Force envision? The TSVCM wants to see—by the end of 2021—“language on key general trading terms which can be adapted to Parties’ needs and readily integrated into OTC [over the counter] and Exchange trading contracts”. According to the TSVCM Phase II report, “To support the investment required to deliver the 1.5-degree pathway, the TSVCM estimates that voluntary carbon credit volume would need to grow by up to 15 times by 2030—while simultaneously increasing the integrity of the underlying carbon credits. This can drive billions of dollars from those emitting carbon to those removing carbon or preventing its emission over the next 30 years.” The head of the <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Institute of International Finance predicts</span></a> that the annual value of voluntary offset carbon trades could reach up to $100 billion by 2050. That is the Task Force’s ultimate goal—whether Article 6 rules are agreed or not.</p> <p class="normal">But in its recommendations, the TSVCM does not explain how the emissions futures trading will support the required investment to reduce corporate emissions. It takes as a given the importance, and useful-ness, of a ‘secondary market’ for trading carbon—through derivatives and futures contracts and other financial products—just as these same banks and insurances created fifteen years ago to make mortgage securities more tradeable.</p> <p class="normal">CLARA member <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Carbon Market Watch</span></a> noted that the TSCVM consultation paper fails to examine “why the existence of a secondary [futures] market, as well as financial products such as carbon index funds, would benefit the climate...Exchanging carbon credits between financial speculators does not benefit the climate, and can create price volatility which will in fact be detrimental to investments in mitigation action.” If investors in direct climate action require a reliable carbon price signal to estimate the scale of investment and its rate of return on investment, they are very unlikely to find it in emissions futures trading. In the first draft TSVCM report, excessive speculation in futures was identified as a <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">market integrity concern</span></a>. But that very real concern disappeared in the second version of the report.</p> <p class="normal">The Task Force also fails to ensure ‘additionality’. If carbon trading is to create an actual mitigation benefit, then credits cannot just be traded—they must be retired. But retirement of credits reduces ‘liquidity’—the total volume of credits from which traders can make money. So the Task Force doesn’t recommend retirement—or any other approach to ensuring mitigation that would also limit the gains of traders. Instead, the Task Force seeks the creation of spot and futures markets, while also arguing for ‘fungibility across all platforms’.</p> <p class="normal">Translation: the TSVCM seeks to set up a single integrated global carbon market, with no limits on traders [that is, no position limits that would curb excessive speculation], and a daily ‘spot’ price for carbon credits. Those credits should be ‘fungible’—so it doesn’t matter whether the carbon comes from trees or geoengineering or even just from hypothetical ‘avoided emissions’.</p> <p class="normal">For CLARA, the most dangerous aspect of the TSVCM is how it seeks to impose a solution that was designed and governed by finance-sector interests, rather than through a set of rules designed and implemented by nation-states. The dangerous aspect is that supporters of the TSVCM in the rich countries are putting forward the message that if countries don’t allow international offset credits, then they won’t get access to other types of climate finance. The tail wagging the dog….</p> <p class="normal"><em><span class="CharOverride-1">This article was published originally as part of the Climate Land Ambition &amp; Rights Alliance (CLARA)’s </span><a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02 CharOverride-1">Net Zero Files</span></a><span class="CharOverride-1">.</span></em></p> <hr /><h3>Downloads</h3> <p><a href="">Download a PDF</a> of this article.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 14 Oct 2021 18:04:06 +0000 Colleen Borgendale 44664 at The International Emissions Trading Association and Net Zero <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category has-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/dr-steve-suppan" hreflang="en">Dr. Steve Suppan</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p class="normal">The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) is one of the most influential business lobbyist groups at the UNFCCC negotiations. Its <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">members include</span></a> “greenhouse gas emitters, verifiers, certifiers, auditors, investors, insurers, traders, brokers, financial and commodity exchanges and other companies serving the greenhouse gas emissions trading market in developed, emerging economies and developing countries.” Part of this influence resides in the <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">placement of IETA representatives</span></a> on government delegations to advocate industry positions as official Party positions. Some <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">developing country Parties have proposed</span></a> a conflict-of interest policy that would prohibit trade association advocacy on Party delegations. However, developed country opposition to such a policy likely ensures IETA’s continued intra- and inter-Party influence.</p> <h2>Selling “potential benefits” under an IETA advocated Article 6</h2> <p class="normal">Another part of IETA’s influence derives from its research and lobbying position papers. In September 2019, IETA published an econometric study designed to project “potential benefits for emissions offset markets under four distinct scenarios. (For a comprehensive analysis of Article 6, see <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Carbon Market Watch’s “In Depth Q &amp; A”</span></a>.</p> <p class="normal">For example, one scenario “assumes that countries cooperatively implement their NDC [Nationally Determined Contribution] goals and reduce emissions beyond 2030 under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. In this scenario, countries can purchase and sell ITMOs [Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes, i.e., globally traded emissions offset credits], which are assumed to accurately represent actual emissions mitigation implied by NDCs, to achieve their decarbonization goals.” (p. 3) The quantified outcomes of the study are dependent on such assumptions as “environmental integrity in all transactions” (p. 5) in offset markets.</p> <p class="normal">The quantification of projected carbon prices, trading volume, and physical emissions transferred from offset selling countries to offset buying countries is illustrated in detail. But the econometric results of this scenario, as well as the other three scenarios in the IETA paper, depend on their policy assumptions, even if they are utopian and contrafactual. Nevertheless, in the hands of a skilled IETA representative, the charts of potential benefits might persuade Parties, particularly developing country sellers of offset credits, that they too will benefit from secondary offset derivatives trading (<span class="Italics CharOverride-1">secondary markets</span> e.g., in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Nature Based Global Offset Emissions™ futures contract</span></a>.</p> <h2>Framing Article 6.2 to protect IETA members from Net Zero related legal risk</h2> <p class="normal">IETA has commissioned an <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Article 6.2 “legal gaps” analysis</span></a> characterized as “delivering Net Zero with integrity.” The analysis identifies “gaps” Parties should fill in the current draft Article 6.2 to promote private sector confidence and “market integrity” to trade offsets internationally. Parties should agree in a final Article 6.2 that 1) governments of the countries hosting offset projects authorize the first transfer of the offset credit (transferring the liability for inaccurate emissions offset verification and reporting from the project developer and offset standards verification organizations to the governments); 2) governments commit not to use transferred offset credits in their own NDC reporting of emissions reductions; and 3) governments commit to reporting a “<span class="Bold-Italics CharOverride-1">corresponding adjustment</span>” for each internationally transferred offset credit to prevent double counting of offset credits in their country of origin and in the countries where those offsets are subsequently bought and sold. (p. 5) In effect, the “legal gaps” analysis is IETA’s demand for Article 6.2 or at least the basis for such a demand.</p> <p class="normal">To further reduce legal risk for carbon market participants, the analysts propose “structural risk mitigation measures” related to but not within the text of a final Article 6.2. These measures include meta-registries of initially transferred offset credits that would allow comparison of reporting from the Party’s national registries (p. 10) and political risk insurance to indemnify participant Parties in case future governments did not honor the Article 6.2 commitments agreed by their predecessors (p. 23).</p> <p class="normal">Reviewers of the “legal gaps” analysis, “noted that ITMOs under Article 6.2 may derive their legal status not from the Paris Agreement itself, but rather from national laws and/or mutual recognition agreements between countries.” (p. 6) Accordingly, including internationally traded emissions offset credits in NDCs requires first that the 6.2 definition of offset credits and NDCs be harmonized with national laws and/or agreements among Parties to recognize those credits to be consistent with national emissions trading law and the 6.2 finalized definitions.</p> <p class="normal">The relevance of Article 6.2 to the practical trading of offset credits (vs. the proposed Party obligations) is further diminished by this: “This memorandum does not address additional legal risks which may apply to transfers of mitigation outcomes for other international uses, such as <span class="Bold-Italics CharOverride-1">CORSIA</span> [Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for Civil Aviation] or for the voluntary carbon market.” (p. 9) However, <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">the international trading of offset credits accepted by CORSIA as the underlying asset of futures trading</span></a> and futures contracts in voluntary emissions markets, e.g., as proposed by the Task Force on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (TSVCM), is projected to result in $100 billion annually in offset trading value by 2030, according to the head of the Institute for International Finance, the TSVCM’s sponsor. TSVCM has stated that it will comply with whatever final form Article 6 takes. (See <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">TSVCM and Net Zero.</span></a>) But if Article 6.2 is inapplicable or only very indirectly applicable to the $100 billion voluntary carbon market of 2030 governed by national authorities, Article 6.2 lives in a parallel universe in which private sector offset trading may or may not be counted in NDCs to help avoid the climate impacts projected in the latest IPCC report.</p> <h2>IETA’s position on “share of proceeds” obligations under the current draft of Article 6</h2> <p class="normal">Proceeds from offset trading will remain with the market participants and exchanges. <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">IETA’s position</span></a> is “No share of proceeds in relation to Article 6.2,” judging such sharing to be “inapplicable” to the private sector. Even under Article 6.4 offset trading mechanisms, such as the meta-registries of offset credits traded and retired, <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">IETA advises</span></a>, “the share of proceeds should be kept at a minimal level.” IETA’s position, if agreed by Parties, would vitiate the Article 6.6 requirement that “a share of proceeds” from the mitigation mechanism “assist developing country Parties that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change to meet the costs of adaptation.”</p> <p class="normal">It would be remarkable if developing country Parties assented to IETA’s position, particularly given the huge underfunding of adaptation projects and programs. According to the former IPCC co-chair for mitigation, cited in <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Nature in 2019</span></a>, “Neither the amount of financial flows nor their direction is sufficient to keep temperatures below 2 °C, let alone 1.5 °C.”</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p class="normal">CLARA member <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Carbon Market Watch proposed</span></a> that the share of proceeds “must apply to Article 6.4 but should also apply to 6.2. If Parties cannot find agreement, then a clear mechanism is needed for developed countries to channel adaptation finance to developing countries.” Because some developed country Parties support IETA’s position on Article 6, including on share of proceeds, such a “clear mechanism” will be needed. CLARA is proposing one towards the achievement of Real Zero, i.e., absolute reductions, rather than the accounting balance of Net Zero international offset credit and futures trading. (See “Non-market Approaches, Article 6.8)</p> <p class="normal">IETA’s econometric estimates of “potential benefits” of offset trading and its proposals to fill in Article 6.2 “legal gaps” require Parties to ensure the environmental and market integrity of offset trading and to assume <span class="Italics">liability for inaccurate emissions offset reporting</span>. By opposing the sharing of proceeds from trading in offsets, IETA members are essentially advocating the transfer of ultimate climate financial risk to the Parties, and away from themselves.</p> <p class="normal"><em><span class="CharOverride-2">This article was published originally as part of the Climate Land Ambition &amp; Rights Alliance (CLARA)’s </span><a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02 CharOverride-2">Net Zero Files</span></a><span class="CharOverride-2">.</span></em></p> <hr /><p><strong>Downloads</strong></p> <p><a href="">Download a PDF</a> of this article.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 14 Oct 2021 17:57:53 +0000 Colleen Borgendale 44663 at From Net Zero to Greenwash — Global Meat and Dairy Companies <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category has-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/ben-lilliston" hreflang="en">Ben Lilliston</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/shefali-sharma" hreflang="en">Shefali Sharma</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p class="normal">In March 2021, the biggest meat company in the world, JBS, made an astonishing <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">announcement</span></a>. The company, embroiled in <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">major bribery and corruption scandals</span></a> just a few years ago, pledged it would reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. A <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">2018 report</span></a> by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and GRAIN had found the company was the largest GHG emitting livestock company in the world, responsible in 2016 for an estimated 280 million tonnes CO2 equivalent. By comparison, Malaysia and Spain’s 2019 emissions were 250 and 253 million tonnes CO2e, respectively. The JBS announcement included no plans to reduce meat production. So, how can it possibly achieve its 2040 net zero target?</p> <p class="normal">As global meat and dairy companies have come under increasing scrutiny for their contributions to the climate crisis, net zero accounting has been a corporate lifesaver. Meat and dairy giants such as JBS, Tyson, Danish Crown, Nestle, Danone, Arla and Fonterra have all announced net-zero targets. Yet, in our examining of company documents, reports and projections, none of the major meat and dairy companies planned on reducing the number of animals in their supply chain, the source of 90% of their emissions. On the contrary, most have plans to significantly expand production and market share. For example, Tyson expects annual growth of 3-4% from beef and poultry sales, while Marfrig targeted 7.5–9.5% annual growth for 2015–2018. This target was set prior to the company’s acquisition of U.S. — based National Beef, making it the second largest beef processor in the world. Danish dairy giant Arla planned to add 2 billion kg of milk to its European supply chain between 2015–2020 — a 14% increase. Fonterra projected a stunning 40% increase in its processed milk volume for 2015–2025.</p> <h2>Net Zero Masks Growing Emissions</h2> <p class="normal">How do these companies claim emission reductions, yet project to continue expanding production? The net zero framework is the escape hatch to do just that.</p> <p class="normal">For example, parts of JBS’ remarkable commitment include reducing emissions in their facilities and using more renewable energy. The company also pledges to eliminate illegal deforestation throughout its supply chain by 2025, stop all deforestation in the Amazon region by 2030) and achieve zero deforestation across its global supply chain by 2035. It has made such commitments before. In 2009, the company promised to eliminate deforestation in its supply chain by 2011. <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Greenpeace noted</span></a> that JBS’ new pledge, “couldn’t make it more clear: JBS will continue to fuel deforestation in the Amazon and beyond for at least another 14 years, and fuel the climate crisis well after that.”</p> <p class="normal">JBS has a checkered past of making various environmental-related pledges and then reneging on those commitments. JBS was given a score of <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">1 out of 100</span></a> on the Soy and Cattle Deforestation Tracker developed by the environmental organization Mighty Earth. Our estimates of their 2016 emissions were 3000% higher than their reported emissions. The company has been repeatedly <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">accused</span></a> of sourcing beef from farmers linked with illegal deforestation in the Amazon. Several academic studies have documented how cattle is <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">leaked and laundered</span></a> in JBS’s supply chain from deforestation zones into slaughterhouses that are deemed “clean”.</p> <p class="normal">To reach its 2040 target, JBS states it will spend $1 billion on unnamed emissions reduction projects and another “$100 million by 2030 in research and development projects to assist producer efforts to strengthen and scale regenerative farming practices, including carbon sequestration and on-farm emission mitigation technologies. This investment will contribute to reducing scope 3 emissions across the value chain, in our efforts toward net zero.” JBS does not say how much of the company’s 2040 net zero pledge will come from carbon sequestration or these unnamed emissions reductions projects.</p> <p class="normal">The world’s biggest pork producers, WH Group and its subsidiary Smithfield, have put their twist on net zero as well, claiming that they will go <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">carbon negative by 2030</span></a>. That pledge applies only in the U.S. and doesn’t consider the Group’s considerable global climate footprint. WH Group’s Chinese operations generated 43 percent of its profits in 2017. In addition, Smithfield’s reporting <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">excludes emissions from large operations</span></a> in Mexico, as well as production facilities in Poland and Romania. Under the pledge, Smithfield will utilize renewable energy and fuels, and will employ regenerative agriculture practices that will sequester carbon. The company does not say how much carbon it plans to sequester. Much of the 2030 pledge relies on the company’s effort to convert its considerable pig manure into methane gas to produce energy or flow into natural gas pipelines. The company counts this gas produced from its factory farms as renewable and as an emissions reduction, in spite of <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">widespread ecological and public health</span></a> problems the manure causes. While the company profits off of waste, <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">communities surrounding Smithfield’s operations in the U.S. have highly criticized</span></a> this form of factory farm gas.</p> <p class="normal">Danone, the world’s second largest dairy company in terms of revenue, also uses net zero accounting to boost its climate commitment. It is one of the more transparent companies in terms of emissions reporting and a commitment to invest in its supply chain for emissions reductions. Danone has committed to “zero net emissions” by 2050 (a target consistent with the one laid out in the Paris climate agreement). These reductions extend to its reported supply chain emissions from dairy. However, Danone also plans to <span class="Italics">increase</span> production. In fact, <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Danone’s emissions increased</span></a> by 15% between 2015-2017. Part of Danone’s plan is to counterbalance its dramatic increase in output with an extraordinary (and perhaps technically unfeasible) reduction in emissions intensity (i.e., emissions per kilogram of milk) by its dairy farmer suppliers and <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">carbon</span></a> offsets through a “Livelihoods Carbon Fund” that proposes to sequester carbon in the Global South with sustainable agriculture practices. The company’s 2030 commitment requires farmer suppliers to achieve extremely aggressive intensity-reduction targets — more than 30 percent in most cases — while making the shift to more sustainable practices.</p> <p class="normal">Fonterra seeks an even more aggressive rate of growth, and unlike Danone its net zero commitment is confined to <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">just manufacturing plants</span></a> — not supply chain reductions. It seeks to reengineer its cow herds, rather than reduce them, by working to eliminate methane from cow guts through the use of seaweed or new fermentations called “<a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Kowbuchas</span></a>.” Other companies make similar projections about per-animal emission reductions based on a variety of experimental biotech feeds and supplements.</p> <h2>Emissions Intensity – Sleight of Hand.</h2> <p class="normal">The meat and dairy industry frequently utilize a measure — emissions intensity targets — that distracts from the company’s overall emissions. Such targets count emissions per kilogram of meat or milk, but they do nothing to curtail overall growth in company emissions or processing volumes. Emissions intensity reduction in the supply chain comes from further industrial-style intensification and scaling, pumping out more milk or meat per animal and/or using less feed per animal. Such pledges allow for greenwashing because companies can highlight emissions reductions per litre of milk even if their total emissions continue to rise. This is clearly demonstrated by the Global Dairy Platform, an association of some of the largest global dairy corporations.</p> <p class="normal">The Dairy Platform’s <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">joint study</span></a> with the FAO reports that the industry reduced emission intensity by 11% between 2005-2015; however, its overall emissions increased by 18% in that same period. This is because these companies dramatically increased their worldwide operations and the number of animals in their supply chains, even as they reduced emissions per litre of milk processed.</p> <p class="normal">An emissions intensity approach also provides a justification for exports. If New Zealand or the EU is a lower-intensity producer of milk than African countries, the reasoning goes, then the climate will benefit by having sub-Saharan African nations import from higher-efficiency countries rather than produce their own milk. This argument could be used to claim that trade barriers or national emission-reduction schemes unfairly penalise European or New Zealand dairy producers. The reality is that it makes African countries the ‘dumping’ ground for major dairy exporting nations and regions including companies based in New Zealand, the U.S. and the EU, causing disruption and dislocation of small scale producers in African countries, impacting both livelihoods and food sovereignty.</p> <p class="normal"><img alt="Top 13 global dairy companies" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="74e3bea4-3f45-43eb-b998-17e1ac8f7649" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Top%2013%20global%20dairy%20companies.jpg" width="50%" /></p> <h2>How Big are the Emissions from Meat and Dairy Companies?</h2> <p class="normal">Allowing global meat and dairy companies to continue business as usual, with a never-ending growth model, would be a disaster for the climate. The IPCC’s latest state of the science report makes it clear that methane emissions reductions this decade could buy humanity time to limit warming to 1.5 C. The Livestock sector contributes to 32% of these emissions. IATP recently <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">reported that in 2017, the combined emissions of the world’s thirteen largest dairy corporations</span></a> emitted more GHGs than major polluters like BHP, the Australia-based mining giant, or ConocoPhillips, the United States-based oil company. Even as governments signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 to significantly rein in global emissions, these big dairy companies’ increase of 32.3 million tonnes (MtCO2eq) of GHGs equates to the pollution stemming from 6.9 million passenger cars driven in one year (13.6 billion litres or 3.6 billion gallons of gasoline). Some dairy companies increased their emissions by as much as 30% in the two-year period.</p> <p class="normal">Our 2018 report, Emissions Impossible, found that the top five biggest meat and dairy companies in the world combined to emit more than Exxon/Mobil, Shell or BP. The top 20 companies combined emitted more than many countries, like Germany, Canada and the UK.</p> <p class="normal"><img alt="Top 5 companies combined" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="89b81339-a222-452d-aa5a-705362725f3b" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Top%205%20companies%20combined.jpg" width="50%" /></p> <p class="normal">Unlike their counterparts in the energy sector, the lack of public scrutiny on the magnitude of the GHG footprints of big meat and dairy companies has slowed climate action. Thus far, very few companies report or set targets on their emissions. Those that do so, pick and choose a variety of metrics and projections that make it difficult to hold them accountable. Most also seriously underreport emissions or do not include the bulk of their supply chain emissions in their calculations.</p> <p class="normal"><img alt="Top 20 companies combined" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="22065c3c-1a0d-4624-889f-680611e6c1ab" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Top%2020%20companies%20combined.jpg" width="50%" /></p> <h2>Getting to Actual Emissions Reductions</h2> <p class="normal">Industrial large-scale animal agriculture is by far the largest component of overall land-sector emissions. But net zero accounting, and its endorsement of the use of land-based offsets to meet climate commitments, is slowing down a much-needed transition in meat and dairy production systems. Governments must mandate human rights and equity-based absolute emissions reduction from the corporate livestock sector and support a just transition for producers and workers in the shift to agroecological food systems.</p> <p class="normal"><em><span class="CharOverride-1">This article was published originally as part of the Climate Land Ambition &amp; Rights Alliance (CLARA)’s </span><a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02 CharOverride-1">Net Zero Files</span></a><span class="CharOverride-1">.</span></em></p> <p class="normal"> </p> <hr /><h3>Downloads</h3> <p><a href="">Download a PDF</a> of this article.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 14 Oct 2021 17:42:16 +0000 Colleen Borgendale 44662 at Searching for solidarity in global climate talks <span>Searching for solidarity in global climate talks</span> <span><span lang="" about="/about/staff/account/colleen-borgendale" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Colleen Borgendale</span></span> <span>Thu, 10/14/2021 - 12:34</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p class="normal">As we approach the global climate talks in Glasgow, there is a rising urgency for countries to ramp up climate action. Equally urgent is the need to create a meaningful, productive space for effective global cooperation. The failure of countries, including the United States, to effectively cooperate in responding to the emergency of a global pandemic continues with <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">deadly consequences</span></a>.</p></div> Thu, 14 Oct 2021 17:34:39 +0000 Colleen Borgendale 44660 at United States farmers, food and trade justice advocates call on Biden administration to reorient approach to global food and agriculture issues <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <h3 > Before World Food Day, more than 65 groups call for more just approach to policy development and multilateralism</h3> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/iatp" hreflang="en">IATP</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><strong>MINNEAPOLIS</strong>—Today, in advance of World Food Day, more than 65 United States-based farmers, food and trade justice advocates delivered a <a href="">letter to the Biden administration</a> urging the U.S. government to fundamentally reorient its approach to global policy development on food <span>and agriculture issues. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Urgently needed reform to agriculture and farm policy must prioritize the rights and livelihoods of workers, food producers and frontline communities; ensure food security through food sovereignty in the U.S. and abroad; mitigate climate change and restore biodiversity; and address corporate power throughout global food systems.<span> A reoriented </span>approach would better align with the administration’s <span>commitments to human and worker rights, racial and gender justice, trade reform and addressing climate change.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The organizations sent the letter amid three major international events related to food and nutrition security: The controversial United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), a forum for advancing corporate agribusiness interests held in New York in late September; the U.N. Committee on the World Food Security (U.N. CFS) plenary currently underway; and World Food Day on October 16. The letter also comes as a response to the experiences of civil society as it engaged in food and agricultural policymaking at the CFS earlier in the year, where the U.S. government delegation systematically sought to block human rights centered approaches, even as other delegations sought to advance human rights as key to food system transformations and universal food and nutrition security. In the wake of these events at the summit and during the CFS plenary, the demands of the food, farm and trade justice advocates for just, human-rights centered food system transformations are timely and must be heard.  </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>The letter encourages a new direction for U.S. government engagement with the CFS and the three Rome-based food and agriculture agencies. These U.N. agencies and<span> policy fora are critical spaces for technical, logistical and financial support to small-scale food producers worldwide, as well as political dialogue for inclusive policy development. Yet, in these spaces, the U.S. government has continued to promote a policy agenda that supports the narrow interests of corporate agribusiness, and recently, the U.S. delegation to the U.N food and agriculture agencies has been defiant and obstructionist of CFS policy processes. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“The U.S. food and agriculture sector has long had an excessive focus on productivity, and provision of cheap food at the cost of ecological health, human health and rural community resilience. And yet, this is considered a successful model and systematically promoted across the world through multilateral and bilateral processes. Secretary Vilsack has yet again suggested this as the path forward, ignoring the fact that t<span>he COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the fragility of the vertically integrated food and agricultural sector in the U.S. There must be a deep examination and reform of the U.S. food and agricultural sector and its approach to policy development and multilateralism,<span>” says Shiney Varghese, senior policy analyst at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“The previous administration did everything possible to further entrench the stranglehold of corporate agribusiness over the world's food supply by trampling worker rights and denying small scale farmers world-wide their right to grow the crops they wish, in the manner they wish to feed their own populations. We demand better from the Biden administration. Human rights cannot be ‘bestowed’ by governments or corporations, they can only be recognized and respected. Rather than telling people and farmers what they need, the Biden administration must, in the spirit of 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ask them what they need. U.S. federal agencies and government officials, especially those working directly with the United Nations, must work to achieve those needs rather than continuing to promote the profit-oriented agendas of multi-national agribusiness,” says Jim Goodman, board president, National Family Farm Coalition.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The letter identifies five key steps the U.S. government must take to reorient food and agriculture policy. Priority reform areas include human rights; racial justice; trade; addressing the climate, biodiversity, food and water crisis through agroecology; and strengthening participatory, multilateral policymaking. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>On World Food Day, as the U.S. is reentering the global community under President Biden’s leadership, the U.S. should fully support the U.N. system as the most transformative multilateral space for international cooperation towards shared goals. </span></span></span></p> <p><strong><span><span><span><a href="">Download a PDF of the press release</a>. </span></span></span></strong></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 13 Oct 2021 16:51:41 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44658 at US Farm, Food and Trade Justice Advocates Call on Biden Administration to Reorient Approach to Global Food and Agriculture Issues <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category has-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><img alt="USFSA" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="21571d61-8105-4b9c-b59f-19b1d6bdeeb6" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/USFSA_LOGO_FINAL_CLR-cropped.jpg" class="align-center" /><p> </p> <p><em><a href="">Download a PDF of the letter</a> to the Biden administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. State Department.</em></p> <p> </p> <p><span><span><span>Dear President Biden,</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>As our communities continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing hunger and poverty, and the existential threat of climate change, we thank you for your administration’s efforts to re-commit the United States to international cooperation and multilateralism to address these challenges. But, we, the undersigned 64 U.S. civil society, food producer, and environmental organizations write this to express significant concern about your administration’s direction on critical international food and agriculture policy priorities.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>We urge you to direct all relevant U.S. federal agencies and government officials to fundamentally reorient the U.S. government’s approach to global policy development on food and agriculture issues, breaking with the U.S. government’s historical alignment with corporate agribusiness and neoliberal, unregulated trade orthodoxy. In particular, we call on your administration to mandate a new policy direction for U.S. government engagement with the United Nations Committee on the World Food Security (UN CFS) and the three Rome-based food and agriculture agencies. This urgently needed reform must prioritize the rights and livelihoods of workers, food producers, and frontline communities, ensure food security through food sovereignty in the U.S. and abroad, while mitigating climate change, restoring biodiversity, and addressing corporate power in global food systems.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Over the past 18 months, the COVID 19 pandemic has revealed painful truths about the fragility of the corporate food sector in the U.S. In response, your administration has made some important investments and policy directives on local food systems and family-scale food providers, decentralizing food supply chains and the agricultural processing sector, strengthening competitiveness and anti-trust standards, and promoting racial equity in the U.S. food system. There is still much work to be done to truly transform and strengthen our food systems, but we applaud these initial efforts. But we are also dismayed that your administration’s efforts on these critical issues have not extended beyond our national borders and are not being reflected in U.S. government policy positions in multilateral policy spaces.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The UN food and agriculture agencies and policy fora, including the UN CFS, are critical spaces for technical, logistical, and financial support to small-scale food producers worldwide, but also political dialogue for inclusive policy development. The CFS in particular, addresses some of the most challenging and central issues facing rural communities, and develops policy guidelines and scientific research for national governments through an inclusive process that provides producers, workers, and other frontline constituencies an autonomous and institutionalized ‘seat at the table,’ therefore providing critical political legitimacy to this multilateral space.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>For too long our constituencies’ needs and interests have been unrepresented, unsupported, and undermined by the U.S. government in these policy-making spaces, as the U.S. government has promoted a policy agenda that reflects the narrow interests of the corporate agribusiness sector. Over the last four years, the U.S. delegation to the UN food and agriculture agencies has been openly defiant and obstructionist of the CFS policy processes, damaging not only the reputation of the United States but also the integrity of important global policy instruments. The Trump Administration’s Ambassador to the UN agencies for food and agriculture issues was particularly divisive, attacking civil society organizations, government representatives, and the UN itself, while U.S. officials undermined support for small-scale producers, local and regional markets, community food systems, ecologically-based farming, and human rights standards. This pro-corporate agriculture agenda must change under your watch.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In-line with your administration’s public commitments on human and worker rights, racial and gender justice, trade reform, and addressing the climate crisis, we call on you to direct USDA, the State Department, and other relevant U.S. government agencies and representatives to take the following measures in regard to engaging the UN fora dedicated to food and agriculture issues:</span></span></span></p> <ul><li><span><span><span>Human rights: Clearly demonstrate the U.S. government’s dedication to supporting civil, political, social, economic, cultural rights as the basis of all U.S. government policy positions. In particular, we call on the administration to articulate its commitment to advancing: food workers’ rights, as enshrined in ILO Convention 98; Indigenous People’s right to sovereignty and self-determination as enshrined by ILO Convention 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP); the rights of peasants and other rural peoples, as enshrined by the UN Declaration on Peasant Rights (UNDROP). Furthermore, we call on the Biden administration to work with Congressional leaders to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, (which enshrines the Right to Adequate Food, Right to Water, and Right to Health) and develop federal implementing legislation for this critical human rights framework. </span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>Racial Justice: Clearly demonstrate the U.S. government’s dedication to supporting racial justice in agriculture, in both U.S. domestic and foreign policy, by explicitly strengthening the rights and livelihoods of communities of color, regardless of nationality and geographic location, in UN food and agriculture policy negotiations. This commitment should not be limited to the amount of resources allocated for economic development, disaster relief, or material goods, but should first and foremost focus on leveraging public policy to advance the rights, representation, agency, and sovereignty of communities of color to achieve their self-determination.</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>Address the climate, biodiversity, food and water crisis through agroecology: Clearly demonstrate the U.S. government’s dedication to a new direction when it comes to food system sustainability. We call on the Biden administration to publicly commit to supporting agroecology in the U.S. and abroad in specific alignment with 10 elements on agroecology developed by FAO (endorsed by the UN CFS in 2021 and by the FAO Agriculture Committee in 2018), and 13 principles developed by the High-Level Panel of Experts (2019) of the UN CFS. </span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>Trade: Publicly commit to a comprehensive review of how U.S. food and agriculture trade policy can advance a rights-based Just Transition, given the multiple crises we have in the global food and agricultural systems. Furthermore, the administration should refrain from trade challenges to other countries’ efforts to advance food sovereignty, the Right to Adequate Food, biodiversity protection, and confront climate change. Finally, we call on the Biden administration to engage civil society organizations of this letter and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food on how to both leverage and reform U.S. trade policy to strengthen the Right to Adequate Food and other international human rights frameworks.</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>Strengthen participatory, multilateral policy-making: Clearly demonstrate the U.S. government’s dedication to democratic policy-making in international fora by establishing an institutionalized, transparent, and equitable mechanism for U.S. agencies to solicit public comment from U.S. constituents on U.S. government priorities in international food and agriculture policy negotiations. Furthermore, we call on the Biden administration to take decisive action to strengthen the authority, legitimacy, and inclusive, participatory, and consensus-based processes of the UN Committee on World Food Security. Finally, we urge the Biden administration to institutionalize basic transparency and public disclosure procedures for U.S. officials and diplomats’ engagement with corporate agribusiness representatives. </span></span></span></li> </ul><p><span><span><span>We need transformative change, and a significant reorientation of U.S. government approach to policy development and multilateralism in the UN to protect our food systems from the climate and biodiversity crises and ensure an end to hunger globally. In re-entering the global community, the U.S. should fully support the UN system as the best hope for international cooperation towards shared goals. We look forward to your action on this matter.</span></span></span></p> <p><strong><span><span><span>To view the list of more than 65 signatories, please <a href="">download a PDF of the letter</a>. </span></span></span></strong></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 13 Oct 2021 16:34:48 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44657 at Maine tackles forever chemicals contaminating food and farms <span>Maine tackles forever chemicals contaminating food and farms</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Mon, 10/04/2021 - 10:51</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span>Maine has become the leading edge in both understanding the destructive consequences of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) contamination of food and farmland and identifying and adopting comprehensive policy solutions to address these consequences. PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals including PFOA, PFOS, GenX and many other compounds (currently as many as 9,000 known variations) that have become a massive pollution problem <a href="">across the United States</a>.</div> Mon, 04 Oct 2021 15:51:00 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44653 at