Promoting a single standard for certified deforestation-free cattle in the Amazon.
In 2009, Brazil’s largest slaughterhouses signed the Public Livestock Commitment to stop purchasing beef from cattle ranches engaged in deforestation in the Amazon. Shortly after its signature, the Federal Public Prosecutor’s office developed similar agreements, aiming to create an official pathway to monitor public commitments. As a result, two “Terms of Conduct Adjustments” (TACs) were signed: one covering only Pará State in 2009, and another covering the entire Amazon in 2013.
The auditing process of these commitments depends on data and reports from the slaughterhouses’ cattle purchases. However, each individual company applies a different monitoring method, creating a problematic lack of standardisation across the sector. Slaughterhouses who apply a more lenient approach are at a competitive advantage, holding back the effective enforcement of a deforestation-free market.
To tighten zero-deforestation compliance, Imaflora – a non-profit focussed on environmental certification and local development – created a unified monitoring and auditing protocol which sets a single standard for cattle purchases in all slaughterhouses.
P4F will help Imaflora to roll out the standardised protocol in the supply chain, and work with public prosecutors in all Amazon states to enforce it. The project’s technical assistance will support auditors and private companies specialising in production chain and slaughterhouse monitoring to implement the protocol.
With stronger monitoring and auditing, the initiative will build confidence in the sustainability of beef purchases and drive up demand for certified deforestation-free cattle.
The slaughterhouses currently committed to purchasing certified deforestation-free cattle in the Amazon account for 49% of the total processing plants in the region. The initiative has ambitions to engage 50 new slaughterhouses, increasing that percentage to 80%. If all slaughterhouses in the Amazon adopt the TACs, the initiative could cover a pasture area totalling around 44 million hectares.
This initiative has enormous potential for leading the way in sustainable beef production both nationally and globally. To this end, the project team will track and report key lessons as the initiative develops.
- Commodity focus