JBS is the world’s largest meat company by revenues, capacity, and production including beef, poultry, lamb and pork. It is the largest beef exporter from Brazil and it sells its meat products under a range of brands including Swift, Friboi, Seara, Pilgrim’s Pride, Gold Kist Farms, Pierce, 1855, Primo, and Beehive.
According to the Brazilian Environmental Protection Agency (IBAMA), in March 2017 (( http://www.climatechangenews.com/2017/03/31/troubled-meatpacker-jbs-sanctioned-amazon-deforestation/)), during a raid of two JBS meat processing plants, 59000 cattle were found that had been sourced from illegally deforested land. The deforested land covered roughly 200 square miles, or an area ten times the size of Manhattan. (( https://chainreactionresearch.com/2017/03/31/the-chain-two-rotten-meat-and-deforestation-scandals-impact-jbss-and-brfs-usd-2-5-billion-ipos-and-brazilian-economy/ )) This is not the first time that JBS have sourced cattle from deforested land ((http://reporterbrasil.org.br/2015/03/jbs-comprou-gado-da-familia-do-maior-desmatador-da-amazonia/ )). Additionally JBS face serious corruption and bribery scandals as well as meat contamination problems (( https://chainreactionresearch.com/2017/03/31/the-chain-two-rotten-meat-and-deforestation-scandals-impact-jbss-and-brfs-usd-2-5-billion-ipos-and-brazilian-economy/ )) and allegations of slavery in their supply chain. The beleaguered company has seen its shares drop in response to these violations and could have to delay its planned IPO, according to the sustainability risk analysts ‘Chain Reaction Research’. The analysts have further indicated that there are significant financial risks associated with JBS due to these numerous severe allegations (( https://chainreactionresearch.com/2017/06/28/new-report-jbs-financial-restructuring-could-be-delayed-due-to-serious-allegations/ )). These allegations have led some clients to cut ties with JBS including Waitrose and Dominoes Pizza Brazil. (( https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jun/06/waitrose-pulls-its-corned-beef-off-shelves-after-guardian-reveals-alleged-slavery-links-brazil ))
Despite the fact that the company has serious environmental, governance and social concerns in their operations, they have recently been provided with 5.5 Billion USD in debt refinancing by a syndicate of banks (( http://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/r-board-of-brazils-jbs-approves-debt-refinancing-with-banks—filing-2017-7-1002175711 )) , which (according to information from Bloomberg) includes Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank is a member of the Soft Commodities Compact (( https://www.db.com/cr/en/docs/Soft_Commodities_Compact_Q_As_April_2014.pdf )) which commits its members to work towards zero net deforestation. Continued investment in companies such as JBS with serious allegations of deforestation is not in line with the spirit of this agreement. Additionally, the fact that there have been such wide-ranging allegations against JBS for a number of years indicates that it either does not have the appropriate environmental, social and governance oversights in place, or does not apply them – it is therefore not fit for investment.
Further information as to the investment viability of the company is provided in the Chain Reaction report.