IGA, Coles, Woolworths among companies that failed deforestation targets

IGA, Coles, and Woolworths are among the retailers and beef processors that have failed to address deforestation in their supply chains, according to a report by Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

The Greenpeace Scorecard. Source: Greenpeace Australia Pacific

The companies assessed include Aldi, Woolworths, McDonald’s, JBS, Tyson, Coles, Hungry Jacks, Teys, IGA, and Comgroup. However, none of them scored above 50 per cent.

Gemma Plesman, senior campaigner at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said the beef sector must be responsible for what’s happening in forests and bushland on their watch.

“This is simply unacceptable,” Plesman remarked.

“Given that deforestation has been a persistent issue in Australian beef supply chains for decades, these results seriously call into question the environmental performance of these companies.”

Australia has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world, losing as much as 9.4 mhA of tree cover in the past 20 years, largely due to the bulldozing of forests for beef cattle grazing.

Glenn Walker, head of nature at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, added that the cattle industry is attempting to greenwash its way to community acceptance instead of tackling forest degradation.

“For many years, the industry-led Australian Beef Sustainability Framework has provided cover for the ongoing destruction of forests, attempting to downplay the serious problem of deforestation in beef supply chains,” continued Walker. 

“Enough of the bull. Big beef purchasers like McDonald’s, Coles and Woolies must show leadership and fix this serious problem once and for all.”

The Greenpeace report urges companies to aim for and achieve conservation and deforestation-free supply chains by 2025, using global best practices such as protecting regenerated forests and threatened species habitats. 

Commenting on Greenpeace’s report, a Woolworths spokesperson said the company is unaware of any deforestation claims by the organisation about beef producers it works with.

“We are committed to sourcing beef sustainably in partnership with our farmers and suppliers,” said the spokesperson.

The company added that it accounts for 7 per cent of all beef produced in the country annually and that all its suppliers must comply with all Federal and state laws, including those related to land management.

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