• Business Business

Lawmakers and activists warn against allowing company to list on NYSE: '[It] contradicts global efforts of governments and businesses'

"The company has made repeated claims … but has not taken meaningful steps to do so."

"The company has made repeated claims ... but has not taken meaningful steps to do so."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

JBS, the world's largest meatpacking company, is seeking to join the New York Stock Exchange. 

But the Brazilian giant's application has drawn opposition from lawmakers and environmentalists over its links to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, the Associated Press reported.

What's happening?

In July, JBS applied to be listed on the NYSE. In recent weeks, lawmakers from the U.S. and U.K. have sent cautionary letters to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which oversees the exchange.

Though getting listed would boost JBS's credibility and access to capital, critics argue this would enable the company to cause even more environmental harm. Audits show JBS has purchased thousands of illegally raised cattle annually in the Amazon, where livestock ranching drives two-thirds of deforestation, according to Greenpeace.

"Dozens of journalistic and NGO reports have shown that JBS is linked to more destruction of forests and other ecosystems than any other company in Brazil," said a letter from 15 U.S. senators, according to Food Dive. "The company has made repeated claims that it will eliminate deforestation but has not taken meaningful steps to do so."

Why is JBS concerning?

The Amazon rainforest is a crucial shield against atmospheric pollution, absorbing billions of tons of carbon dioxide. But deforestation is rapidly eroding this vital carbon sink.

Giving a company complicit in Amazon destruction greater financial clout could accelerate the loss of this essential ecosystem. The lawmakers assert that enabling JBS to raise more capital on the NYSE "contradicts global efforts of governments and businesses to take action to mitigate climate change" and "preserve essential natural habitats."

What's being done about JBS?

JBS has said it is committed to adjusting its supply chain by 2025 to eliminate deforestation and said it has launched a $51 million fund for conservation projects. However, critics question the sincerity of these commitments.

The amount JBS has disbursed for green projects so far represents just 0.007% of its net sales since 2021. And a key adviser who originally backed the sustainability fund told AP he has grown disillusioned with the initiative.

Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of environmental group Mighty Earth, said letting JBS join the NYSE is too big a risk: "If JBS gains access to billions of dollars to expand its industrial meat operations, it would bring more deforestation, more market manipulation, more human rights abuses, and more outsized climate pollution."

Ultimately, concerned consumers hold the power to drive change through their purchasing choices. Opting for more plant-based proteins is an easy, tasty way to reduce personal demand for products linked to deforestation.

Small shifts, like occasionally choosing chicken over beef, can shrink your dietary carbon footprint. Decreasing red meat by a quarter and replacing it with poultry and veggies could cut diet-related pollution by over 10%.

The SEC is still weighing whether to approve JBS's NYSE bid. In the meantime, earth-conscious eaters can vote with their dollars for a greener food system.

Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider