"Big Meat Is Lying About Sustainability. These Media Outlets Are Helping."

"Can newsrooms really expect people to trust their reporting if they fund it by spreading misinformation?"

"First, Letitia James took on Donald Trump. Now, she’s taking on the meat industry. In a first-of-its-kind lawsuit filed last week, the New York Attorney General accused JBS USA—the American arm of the world’s largest meatpacking company—of “fraudulent and illegal environmental marketing practices” surrounding its claims of sustainability. Specifically, the lawsuit claims JBS USA’s advertisements promising to reach “net zero emissions by 2040” are fabrications, designed to trick environmentally conscious consumers into purchasing an environmentally harmful product.

It’s not the first time Brazil-based JBS has been accused of misleading the public with climate ads. In June 2023, the meat conglomerate—whose brand names include “Swift,” “Certified Angus Beef,” and “Grass Run Farms”—was told by the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the advertising body of the Better Business Bureau, that it should stop advertising its net zero commitment. The NARB concluded that JBS’s claims were unsubstantiated, as the company “does not have a formulated and vetted plan” to reach net zero emissions. It said that “evidence did not support the broad message … that JBS is on a path towards net zero.”

To further support the allegations, James’s lawsuit points out that JBS has not even calculated the full extent of its own carbon footprint. Therefore, there’s no way the $10 billion company could have a credible plan to eliminate it. The lawsuit also notes that JBS’s main business goal is to expand meat production and consumption, which climate scientists say is inconsistent with achieving net zero emissions. JBS already produces 32 billion pounds of animal products per year, and is “one of the biggest consumers of cattle raised on newly deforested land,” The New York Times reports.

“They're making all sorts of claims and promises,” said Jennifer Jacquet, professor of environmental science and policy at the University of Miami. “I think some people are getting sort of fed up and it's not surprising to see New York take the lead on this.”"

Emily Atkin and Arielle Samuelson report for HEATED March 6, 2024.


"New Research Shows How the Meat Industry Infiltrated Universities to Obstruct Climate Policy" (Civil Eats)

Source: HEATED, 03/07/2024