Indigenous Amazonians have Filed a Lawsuit Against a French Supermarket Chain, Alleging Deforestation

Indigenous activists from Brazil and Colombia’s Amazon areas, as well as conservation organisations from France and the United States, sued a grocery chain in a French court for selling beef processed by corporations that are responsible for mass deforestation and land grabs.

According to the complaint, Casino, a French grocery store, broke a 2017 law requiring firms to conduct due diligence on companies in their supply chain to ensure they are not funding organisations that uphold human rights abuses and environmental degradation.

Casino bought beef from three slaughterhouses operated by JBS, the world’s largest meat processing firm, according to evidence gathered by the Centre for Climate Crime Analysis (CCCA). JBS slaughterhouses get their beef from 592 dealers who, between 2008 and 2020, are responsible for at least 50,000 hectares (123,550 acres) of deforestation.

Despite media reports exposing JBS’s deplorable activities, Casino continues to buy meat from the company. Casino claims to track their vendors to ensure they aren’t doing business with companies that participate in land grabbing, child and slave labour, or deforestation. They also say that Brazilian beef is not available in their French stores.

However, Brazil is Casino’s second-largest grocery market, with the area accounting for nearly 47% of the company’s global revenue.

“Cattle ranching, monocultures, and other extractive industries are putting our lives at risk and exterminating indigenous peoples,” said Fany Kuiru Castro, a spokesperson for the Colombian Uitoto people and director of the National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (OIPAC). Indigenous organisations are seeking damages of 3 million euros in the case. According to Sebastien Mabile, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, they also want Casino to comply with the 2017 law to “ensure that their operations do not require deforestation.”

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