Beta
A Path Towards
Zero Deforestation Cattle
Supply chain solutions offer unprecedented opportunities to reduce deforestation driven by cattle expansion in the Brazilian Amazon. Achieving that goal, at scale, will require coordinated support from the entire value chain.

The Brazilian Amazon and cattle ranching

The modern ranching sector and patterns of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

Supply Chain Links

Supply chain links and market connections for Brazilian cattle products

Reversing Course

Market-based initiatives & forest governance policies successfully reducing deforestation driven by cattle in the Brazilian Amazon

Assessing Impacts

Assessing the effectiveness of the zero deforestation cattle agreements

Pathway Forward & Recommendations

Next steps needed to ensure fully verified zero deforestation beef, leather, and tallow production

Momentum

Momentum towards zero deforestation cattle




The Brazilian Amazon and Cattle Ranching: A Brief Introduction

Tropical forests provide a wide range of valuable ecosystem services that deliver benefits, such as regulation of local, regional, and global climate. The large-scale loss of forests jeopardizes these critical services, and can negatively impact people and wildlife far beyond the Amazon.

The Amazon biome, covering almost half of the entire Brazilian territory, is an iconic landscape, with priceless human, wildlife, carbon and water storage, and cultural values for Brazil and the whole planet. It also supports millions of people who rely on this region to sustain their livelihoods.

Cattle ranching occurs on over two-thirds of deforested land in the Brazilian Amazon1,2 and has been a default land use for rural properties for many decades, as part of a complex process that includes land occupation, speculation, and cultural tradition. Over the past several decades, this region has undergone a shift from a relatively loose arrangement of disorganized agricultural producers towards more commercially integrated and export-driven production systems.

From 1993 to 2013, the cattle herd in the Brazilian Amazon biome expanded by nearly 200%, while the herd in the rest of Brazil increased by only 13%.3 In 2013, nearly 60 million cattle occupied the Brazilian Amazon biome.4 The large-scale expansion of the cattle herd into the Brazilian Amazon has come at great environmental cost, as large expanses of tropical forests have been cut, burned, and converted to pastures. During this period, over 300,000 km2 of forest (an area about the size of Italy) was cleared in the Brazilian Amazon.5

Large scale deforestation and expansion of agriculture in the Brazilian Amazon may be a "no-win" scenario for the region as climate feedbacks are likely, to (1) reduce the quantity and frequency of rainfall6 (2) increase average temperatures and heat extremes,7 and (3) increase the length of dry seasons and the severity of droughts.8 Under a business as usual scenario, climate feedbacks associated with continued forest destruction could potentially reduce pasture productivity in the Brazilian Amazon by 33% by 2050.9 This could have major implications for food security and raw material sourcing, as large-scale productivity losses may result in supply shocks in the market and increase the price volatility of cattle products.

Legal compliance has typically been poor in the cattle sector, and efforts aimed at reforming land-use practices have largely been ineffective. However, this trend has changed significantly in recent years. A combination of supply chain interventions, including commitments to zero deforestation production, and government policies have helped reduce the rates of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon by over 80% in the past decade.10 Continued support from responsible companies throughout the supply chain is providing critical support for a range of solutions that are helping sever the links between cattle and forest destruction in the Amazon once and for all.

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Explore herd expansion and forest cover loss by year:
  • 1993
  • 2003
  • 2013
Heads of Cattle per Municipality
  • 0–50,000
  • 50,001–200,000
  • 200,001–400,000
  • 400,001–1,000,000
  • 1,000,001–2,000,000
  • States
  • Deforestation
  • Amazon Biome
  • Legal Amazon
Expansion of the Brazilian
cattle herd into the Amazon11
Fueled by domestic and international demand for beef and leather, cattle ranching has rapidly spread north-westwards across Brazil into the Amazon biome, which now supports nearly 60 million cattle, about one-third of the entire Brazilian herd.
Heads of Cattle per Municipality
Patterns of forest cover loss in the Brazilian Amazon12
Forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon has followed a pattern, often referred to as the Arc of Deforestation, progressively spreading north-westwards into the forest frontier.
FURTHER READING FOR CHAPTER 1
➀ Agricultural Productivity Depends on Amazon Forests →
➁ Deforestation-based Production Contributes to Far Greater Emissions →
Supply Chain Links and Market Connections

Supply chain initiatives are supporting effective solutions to verified zero deforestation beef, leather, and tallow production in the Brazilian Amazon.

With the largest commercial cattle herd in the world, Brazil is currently at the forefront of both global production and international trade. The expansion of the cattle herd in the Amazon biome played a key role in meeting the growing demand, both within Brazil and internationally, for beef, leather, and tallow.

Despite its position as a global leader in exports, the majority of beef produced in Brazil (about 80%) is consumed domestically.24 Large multi-national retailers, including three of the world’s largest (Walmart, Carrefour, and Pão de Açúcar/ Casino Group) and global brands, such as Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, Mars, and Nestle, play a prominent role in the domestic market.

In 2014, the top Brazilian export markets for beef were China (including Hong Kong), Russia, and the European Union, which collectively accounted for over half of all exports (by value).25 While China and Russia tend to dominate overall trade, the United States and the United Kingdom are (by far) the largest export destinations for processed beef products, accounting for 35% and 25% of total processed beef exports in 2014, respectively.26

The primary export destinations for Brazilian hides and leather (by value) are China and Italy.27 As top global leather processors, these nations export the majority of finished leather goods to the United States and the European Union,28 highlighting the importance of market integration in leather supply chains.

Tallow has a wide range of applications, including pet food, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products, such as soaps. In Brazil, tallow is also used in the production of biodiesel, which typically consists of a feedstock ratio of about 20% tallow. As fuel blend mandates continue to increase the proportions of biodiesel, tallow is likely to become an increasingly important feedstock for the energy and transportation sectors, both within Brazil and internationally.

Global commodity markets for beef, leather, and tallow products are dynamic. As the Brazilian cattle sector seeks to expand market coverage and establish new trade partners in both developed and emerging economies, commodity flows will shift to meet market demands. Consumption preferences in end-user countries and sourcing criteria of multi-national brands can send strong market signals that resonate throughout the value chain.

In the past several years, there has been a tremendous surge in corporate zero deforestation commitments (see further reading on Surge in Zero Deforestation Commitments), and an increasing number of these have a cross-commodity scope, which cover cattle products. Continued support for verified zero deforestation beef, leather, and tallow can foster wide ranging, lasting, solution-oriented transformation of the market for Brazilian cattle products.


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As one of the leading producers and exporters of beef and leather products, the Brazilian cattle sector is highly integrated into both domestic and international markets.
Beef (fresh, frozen, processed)
Leather
Tallow
FURTHER READING FOR CHAPTER 2
➀ Surge in Zero Deforestation Commitments →
➁ Clandestine Market →
➂ Domestic Consumption and Export Markets →

Top trade partners for 2014:

DOMESTIC

The majority (about 80%) of beef produced in Brazil is consumed by the domestic market. According to OECD-FAO 2014, Brazil is one of the leading beef consuming nations in the world, averaging about 25 kg of beef per capita per year, over three times the world average (6.5 kg/capita/year). Large multi-national retailers and global food and pet-food brands play a prominent role in the domestic market for beef products in Brazil.

SEE INTERNATIONAL →
INTERNATIONAL
% US$US$ (millions)Top EU-28 Importersof Brazilian beef, 2014
29%262Italy
21%195United Kingdom
19%176The Netherlands
12%110Germany
6%59Spain
13%110Rest of the EU-28
100%911Total EU-28
% US$US$ (millions)Top Importersof Brazilian beef, 2014
24%1.714 China
18%1.314 Russia
13%911 Europe-28
13%901 Venezuela
8%612 Egypt
4%287 Iran
4%275 Chile
3%231 United States
13%980 Rest of the world
← SEE DOMESTIC
DOMESTIC

Walker et al. 2013, estimates that about 26% of Brazilian leather and hides are consumed by the domestic market. Although the majority of production is exported, Brazil has significant processing and manufacturing sectors for leather-based products, such as automotive and aviation (upholstery), as well as footwear and apparel.

SEE INTERNATIONAL →
INTERNATIONAL
% US$US$ (millions)Top Importers of Select FinalLeather Goods from China, 2014
35%1.274 United States
20%724 EU-28
45%1.598 Rest of the World
100%3.596 World Total
% US$US$ (millions)Top Importers of Select FinalLeather Goods from Italy, 2014
11%1.236 United States
49%5.289 EU-28
40%4.322 Rest of the World
100%3.596 World Total
% US$US$ (millions)Top Importersof Brazilian Leather/Hides, 2014
48%623 China
20%265 Italy
8%107 Vietnam
4%48 Taiwan
3%41 Thailand
3%36 South Korea
3%35 United States
3%35 EU-28 (excluding Italy)
2%30 Japan
6%89 Rest of the world
← SEE DOMESTIC
DOMESTIC

The overwhelming majority (about 99%) of tallow produced in Brazil is consumed by the domestic market, primarily for biodiesel. Based on estimates from FAO STAT and the Global Agricultural Network (GAIN), about 90% of all Brazilian tallow is used for biodiesel production. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Brazil is the fourth largest producer of biodiesel in the world.

SEE INTERNATIONAL →
INTERNATIONAL
% US$US$ (millions)Top Importersof Brazilian Tallow-Based Biodiesel Exports, 2013
69%23 Spain
20%6 Netherlands
11%4 Belgium
← SEE DOMESTIC
Reversing Course: How Supply Chain Solutions are Transforming the Brazilian Cattle Sector

Pressure from international retailers and brands, environmental groups, and the federal government, led major meatpackers in Brazil to make public commitments to stop directly sourcing cattle from ranches with deforestation and illegal activity.

During the past decade, significant strides have been made towards reducing cattle-driven deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. In 2009, high profile campaigns by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and pressure from the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Offices (Ministério Público Federal, or MPF) in Pará, led to two important supply chain interventions: (1) the MPF-TAC Agreement, and (2) the G4 Cattle Agreement.44

(1) MPF-TAC Agreement: The MPFs sued large ranchers who cleared forest illegally and the slaughterhouses that bought from them, and used threats of litigation to convince Brazilian retailers to boycott slaughterhouses connected to illegal deforestation. In response, individual meatpacking companies began signing legally binding TAC agreements with the MPF (Terms of Adjustment of Conduct) in July 2009. Such agreements forestall prosecution in return for the meatpackers’ commitments to avoid purchases from properties with illegal deforestation, and are now in place for two-thirds of the federally inspected slaughterhouses (SIFs) in the Legal Amazon (Gibbs et al. 2015).45

(2) Zero Deforestation/G4 Cattle Agreement In October 2009, Brazil’s largest meatpacking companies (JBS, Marfrig, Minerva, and Bertin—the latter

one was subsequently purchased by JBS) also signed a zero deforestation agreement with Greenpeace, known as the G4 or Zero Deforestation Cattle Agreement. Under the agreement, these meatpackers committed to set up monitoring systems to block the purchase of cattle from ranches with deforestation and illegal activities. The G4 meatpackers collectively account for around half of the documented slaughter in the Legal Amazon, so this commitment has a wide reach (Gibbs et al. 2015).46

The two agreements share many similarities. Under both, meatpacking companies committed to block sales from properties with deforestation occurring after the agreements, or that were not registered in the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR), a Brazilian system for storing georeferenced property boundaries for monitoring purposes.

The MPF-TAC agreements emphasize avoiding illegal deforestation, as defined by the Brazilian Forest Code, which stipulates minimum reserve areas on properties that must remain forested. The G4 Agreement goes beyond legality and prohibits any forest clearing, even if it is within the legal limit.

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Major slaughterhouses in the state of Pará in the Brazilian Amazon that have (and do not have) a zero deforestation cattle agreement.47

This figure shows federally inspected slaughterhouses in the state of Pará (Serviço de Inspeção Federal - SIF). Nearly 90% of these slaughterhouses are covered by zero deforestation cattle agreements, including both the G4 and MPF-TAC (for more information, see Further Reading section below). Four of these slaughterhouses (as indicated in the key) were analyzed by Gibbs et al. 2015.

Map from Gibbs et al. 2015
Geography
Forest
Deforested
Non-forest
Roads
Brazil state boundaries
Slaughterhouse categories
G4 slaughterhouses included in study
Did not sign agreement
Signed either TAC or G4 agreement
FURTHER READING FOR CHAPTER 3
➀ Severing the Link Between Deforestation & Cattle →
➁ The Brazilian Forest Code →
➂ Rural Environmental Registry System (CAR) →
Assessing Impacts: Measuring the Effectiveness of the Zero Deforestation Cattle Agreements

A study of the Cattle Agreements by Gibbs et al. 2015 shows that JBS, the largest beef processor in the world, has made substantial changes to its procurement criteria, effectively blocking purchases from direct supplying ranches in southern Pará that had recent deforestation and illegal activities.

Supply chain interventions, such as the Cattle Agreements, offer a promising solution to commodity-driven deforestation. As multi-national companies continue to make commitments to stop sourcing from farms and ranches with recent deforestation, these types of initiatives are growing increasingly more powerful as pragmatic solutions to commodity-driven deforestation. The scope, terms, and implementation of these initiatives are critical to ensure effective safeguards for forests and the environment both within Brazil and elsewhere in the tropics.

An analysis by Gibbs et al. 2015 of the Cattle Agreements demonstrates that they significantly and rapidly changed meatpacker and rancher behavior in the state of Pará. Rancher surveys, and rigorous property-level and statistical analyses were combined to demonstrate the following:

  • JBS slaughterhouses significantly changed purchase behavior and sourcing criteria, and now actively block sales from direct suppliers with deforestation.50
  • Supplying ranchers were rapidly incentivized to register their properties in the publicly available Rural Environmental Registry (CAR), more than two years ahead of surrounding properties.51
  • Supplying ranchers responded to the market signals and dramatically reduced deforestation on their properties.52

The integration of forest governance policies and supply chain initiatives offers unprecedented levels of transparency, enabling detailed understanding of both the patterns of property-level forest cover loss and transaction information throughout the supply chain.

Despite these important changes in the cattle sector, potential leakage and loopholes reduce the overall impacts for forest conservation. There are still major challenges that need to be addressed in order to ensure fully verifiable zero deforestation supply chains for cattle products from the Brazilian Amazon (Gibbs et al. 2015).

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The Study Region: Property Boundaries and Forest Cover of Supplying and Non-Supplying Ranches in Pará53

The following maps show forest cover loss and the change in a sample of supplying properties to JBS slaughterhouses in Pará before the Zero Deforestation Agreements (prior to 2009) and after the Agreements (2010 to 2013).

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Property-Level Supply Chain Mapping The combination of property maps, remote sensing data, and supply chain information provides unprecedented levels of transparency, helping transform blank maps into useful tools that enable researchers to identify, track, and measure the effectiveness of the Zero Deforestation Agreements.
Pre-Agreement This map shows supplying properties to JBS before the Agreements (prior to 2009) and deforestation from 2006 to 2009. As illustrated by this map, prior to the Zero Deforestation Agreements, there were several properties which had deforestation and who also supplied JBS.
Post-Agreement This map shows supplying properties to JBS and deforestation after the Agreements (2010 to 2013). As illustrated by this map, all of the 2012 and 2013 suppliers to JBS did not have any deforestation from 2010 to 2013.
Compliance - Example 1 This post-agreement compliance map identifies one specific example of how the Zero Deforestation Agreements was effective:

This example shows a property who supplied JBS before the Agreements and who also had deforestation from 2006 to 2009, but after the Agreements deforestation stopped, and this property was able to remain a supplier to JBS in 2012 and 2013.
Compliance - Example 2 This post-agreement compliance map identifies one specific example of how the Zero Deforestation Agreements was effective:

This example shows a property who supplied JBS before the Agreements and who had deforestation from 2006 to 2009, but after the Agreements deforestation continued, and therefore this property was effectively blocked from supplying JBS.
  • Properties in Pará
  • Deforestation (2006-2009)
  • Suppliers that sold pre-agreement
  • Non-supplying properties
  • Deforestation (2010-13)
  • 2012 or 2013 suppliers
  • Suppliers that sold pre-agreement
  • Non-supplying properties
  • Deforestation (2010-13)
  • 2012 or 2013 suppliers
  • Suppliers that sold pre-agreement
  • Non-supplying properties
  • Deforestation (2010-13)
  • 2012 or 2013 suppliers
  • Suppliers that sold pre-agreement
  • Non-supplying properties
Map from Gibbs et al. 2015
FURTHER READING FOR CHAPTER 4
➀ JBS Alters Purchase Criteria →
Pathway Forward: Next Steps Needed to Ensure Fully Verifiable Deforestation-Free Production

Preventing deforestation is compatible with the growth of the cattle sector in Brazil. Improvements to pasture and herd management could allow substantial increases in the Amazon cattle herd on existing pasture. This can be achieved while improving the profitability of the ranching sector and safeguarding the ecological values of the Amazon.

The property-level analysis by Gibbs et al. 2015 on the effectiveness of the cattle agreements, as they apply to JBS slaughterhouses in Pará, demonstrates that they have altered their procurement criteria and now monitor their suppliers. Tens of thousands of properties are effectively monitored now, an enormous achievement of the cattle sector.

Despite this progress, major challenges still remain to ensuring fully verified zero deforestation cattle production. The G4 Agreement only extends to three meatpacking companies, which leaves about half of the documented slaughter in the Brazilian Amazon exposed to relatively minimal (if any) monitoring for deforestation and illegal activities. In addition, direct suppliers are the only segment of the supply chain that is current covered by these monitoring efforts. Cattle can move from calving ranches and fattening farms through middlemen and other indirect suppliers without being monitored. Preliminary evidence indicates that the majority of deforestation is now likely occurring on these indirect supplying ranches.

In addition, there are currently no unified and robust audits to check the criteria of the commitments. To ensure compliance with the agreements, a uniform, independent auditing system is needed. The results of these audits should be publicly available so that all stakeholders in the supply chain can make informed decisions about the performance of this sector.

There are several ways that retailers, manufacturers, and other supply chain actors (including individuals and families) can help ensure environmentally sound, socially responsible, and economically viable cattle ranching in the Brazilian Amazon.

To build collaborative solutions and scale up verified zero deforestation cattle production, supply chain actors should participate in the GRSB-GTPS Joint Working Group on Forests (JWG). The JWG is a technical working group of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) and the Brazilian Roundtable on Sustainable Livestock (GTPS), focused on engagement and collaboration to address forest-related issues in cattle supply chains.

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  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
This diagram shows various supply chain actors, their roles throughout the production phases, and the complexities of monitoring and traceability.
G4 meatpackers have implemented effective monitoring systems to cover transactions with direct suppliers (Tier 1 ranches).
The movement of cattle can occur through various channels, including auctions, traders, and other middlemen.
Cattle can also move between indirect suppliers (ranch-to-ranch transfers) throughout all production phases, including breeding, rearing, and fattening.
Because most suppliers are not full-cycle ranches, which cover all production phases, there are significant challenges associated with monitoring and traceability of indirect suppliers (Tier 2 and Tier 3 ranches).
Cattle can also be sold via non-G4 supply chains, which have limited (if any) controls and monitoring systems for deforestation and illegal activities.
FURTHER READING FOR CHAPTER 5
➀ Complexities of the Cattle Supply Chain →
➁ A Guide to Solution-Oriented Options →
➂ Productive Capacity of Existing Pasture →
➃ Moderate Intensification →
Recommendations
Achieving systemic supply chain solutions and ensuring fully verified zero deforestation production will require commitments and coordinated support from retailers, meatpackers, banks and investors, governments, and consumers.
Ranchers
  • Avoid clearing remaining tracts of forest.
  • Adopt moderate intensification practices (such as rotational grazing, fences, and grass mixtures) to improve productivity on existing pastures.
  • Work towards legal compliance, including CAR registration and Legal Reserve (LR) minimums.
  • Utilize market-based mechanisms (such as CRA and REDD+) to compensate and/or restore cleared areas.
Meatpackers
G4 Meatpackers (JBS, Marfrig, and Minerva)
  • Start to address indirect suppliers. Taking action to address indirect suppliers will help close some of the current gaps in monitoring, reduce risks, and help ensure fully verified zero deforestation supply chains.
  • Increase the transparency of transaction information. Disclosing more information on the ranches which supply cattle to the meatpackers will help identify potential gaps in monitoring, further reduce potential risk exposure, and provide valuable support for efforts aimed at expanding monitoring to indirect suppliers.


Other meatpackers (non-G4) in the Brazilian Amazon and elsewhere in the tropics
  • Commit to zero deforestation, use monitoring systems to exclude purchases from ranches with deforestation, track cattle between supplying ranches, and increase the transparency of transaction information.
Retailers & Manufacturers
  • Incentivize support for verified zero deforestation beef, leather, tallow, and other cattle-derived products.
  • Preferentially source from meatpackers who: (1) have made commitments to zero deforestation production, (2) use monitoring and tracking systems to ensure fully verified zero deforestation production, (3) increase the transparency of their transaction information with supplying ranches, and (4) publically disclose their performance through third-party independent audits.
  • Participate in the GRSB-GTPS Joint Working Group on Forests (JWG) to build collaborative solutions with other supply chain actors and to scale up verified zero deforestation beef, leather, tallow, and other cattle-derived products.
Government
  • Increase transparency of data regarding the transportation of cattle (Guia de Transporte Animal, or GTA) and the CAR registry. Disclosing more information on the movement of cattle will help support efforts aimed at expanding monitoring and traceability to indirect suppliers in the supply chain.
  • Create policies and incentives focused on the adoption of nationwide traceability and monitoring systems, leveling the playing field in the Brazilian cattle sector.
  • Accelerate CAR adoption and support a CAR verification process to improve the accuracy and reliability of information.
  • Support efforts to improve technical assistance, training and education for ranchers.
  • Incentivize adoption of moderate intensification practices that improve productivity on existing pastures, while reducing incentives for and discouraging expansion of agriculture into forested regions.
  • Promote more streamlined processes for the application for and allocation of credit and other finance for sustainable ranching practices.
Consumers
  • Preferentially purchase from retailers that have commitments and show continuous progress towards verified zero deforestation production. Check Supply-Change for news, information, and analysis on company commitments.
  • Ask your favorite retailers and brands simple questions like:
    • “From where do you source your beef or leather materials?”
    • “Do you have a zero deforestation policy that covers cattle products?”
Banks & Investors
  • Provide financial incentives and credit options that support the recovery of degraded pastures and the adoption moderate intensification practices and other land-use intensification strategies, such as crop-livestock-forest integration.
  • Promote more streamlined processes for the application for and allocation of credit and other finance for sustainable ranching practices.
  • Support incentives that encourage transparency, traceability and verification of supply chains.
Photo © NWF/Pisco Del Gaiso
Momentum Towards Zero Deforestation Cattle
Field-based programs, research projects and other initiatives are helping advance zero deforestation production systems and improving the social, economic, and ecological sustainability of cattle ranching in Brazil.

Forest 500: Retailer Rankings on Cattle (Beef and Leather)

The Forest 500 is the world’s first rainforest rating agency. It identifies and ranks the most influential companies, investors and governments in the race towards a deforestation-free global economy. In support of this goal, Global Canopy Programme (GCP) developed a cattle-specific version of the Forest 500, ranking 29 retail companies that have large-scale influence over beef and/or leather supply chains.

Novo Campo Program: Practicing Sustainable Cattle Ranching in the Amazon

The Novo Campo Program promotes sustainable practices on cattle ranches in the Amazon region, improving their economic, social and environmental performance. This voluntary program helps reduce deforestation, promote conservation and restoration of natural resources, improve productivity, profitability, and production quality, and contributes to strengthening the local economy.

Subsidies for a Cattle Ranching Intensification Subprogram in Acre: A State Analysis

The Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), in cooperation with various institutions, helped to establish the basis for a cattle ranching subprogram in the state of Acre in the Brazilian Amazon. This subprogram would become part of SISA (Environmental Services Incentive system). This collaboration occurred through workshops and field visits, as well as through the publication of a report which shows economic and environmental benefits of intensification in the state.

Imazon

Imazon is a non-profit research institution, whose mission is to promote sustainable development in the Amazon through studies, support for public policy formulation, broad dissemination of information and capacity building. The institute was founded in 1990, and its head office is located in the city of Belém, Pará, Brazil. In 24 years of operation, Imazon has published more than 600 technical papers, including about 190 in scientific journals. The Institute has also published 111 books, and more than 150 technical and public policy articles.

International Institute for Sustainability (IIS)

The International Institute for Sustainability (IIS) is an organization based in the city of Rio de Janeiro that is dedicated to promoting the transition to sustainability. IIS develops interdisciplinary researches in line with the emerging field of Sustainability Science, provides assistance to governments, intergovernmental agencies, NGOs and businesses seeking solutions to their sustainability challenges and develops and implements projects. The main focus of IIS is sustainable land use, combining production requirements, environmental services and social development.

About this site

This website was developed as a collaborative project between the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and the Gibbs Land Use and Environment Lab (GLUE). The site aims to showcase how supply chain initiatives are supporting effective solutions for verified zero deforestation beef, leather, and tallow production in the Brazilian Amazon. The site also highlights ways for supply chain actors to support continuous improvement and ensure that cattle products sourced from this region do not contribute to the loss of tropical forests. This website is intended to be a resource for procurement and sustainability professionals, and will continue to evolve as new research, data, and analysis becomes available.


For questions or comments, please contact: ZeroDeforestation@nwf.org


The National Wildlife Federation is the oldest and largest wildlife conservation and education organization in the United States, with nearly 6 million members and supporters and 49 state and territorial affiliates. The international division of NWF (International Wildlife Conservation), develops strategies to reduce the environmental impacts associated with large-scale agriculture, to help ensure that commodity production can meet the world’s needs without destroying forests or jeopardizing wildlife habitat.


The Gibbs Land Use and Environment Lab (GLUE) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is an academic research group dedicated to studying human-environment interactions. The researchers use maps, remote sensing, modeling, and commodity supply chain analysis combined with stakeholder interviews to understand how and why humans use land around the world. They are especially engaged in understanding the potential of emerging market-based solutions to reduce tropical deforestation, and work closely with policymakers, business leaders and non-governmental organizations.

Contributors & developers
Funders
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The research, views, and opinions presented on this website do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of organizations supporting this site.
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The Amazon biome: Dense tropical moist forest. Harbors over 10% of the species in the world. Covers 6.7 million km2. Spans eight countries (Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, and Suriname) and French Guiana.
Direct suppliers (or Tier 1 ranches), are properties that sell cattle to meatpackers/ slaughterhouses. Direct suppliers are typically fattening (or finishing) ranches, which cover the final phases of the production lifecycle.
Indirect suppliers (or Tier 2 and Tier 3) are properties that do not sell cattle to the meatpacker/ slaughterhouse, but rather sell, trade, and transfer cattle to other ranches throughout the production lifecycle. Indirect suppliers typically cover earlier production stages, including breeding and rearing operations, such as cow-calf systems.
Gibbs, H.K., Munger, J., L’Roe, J., Barreto, P., Pereira, R., Christie, M., Amaral, T. and Walker, N.F. (2015). Did Ranchers and Slaughterhouses Respond to Zero Deforestation Agreements in the Brazilian Amazon? Conservation Letters.
OECD/FAO (2014), OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2014, OECD Publishing, Paris.
Walker, N.F., Patel, S. A., and Kalif, K.A.B. 2013. From Amazon pasture to the high street: deforestation and the Brazilian cattle product supply chain. Tropical Conservation Science – Special Issue Vol. 6 (3):446-467.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Statistics Division (FAO STAT), 2015. Rome.
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN). 2014. Biofuels Annual, Brazil. GAIN Report Number: BR 14004.
United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), International Energy Statistics, 2012.
1. INPE/EMBRAPA. 2012. Terraclass 2012: Amazon land use and land cover information Project (Projeto TerraClass) CRA - Centro de Regional da Amazônia.
2. Bustamente, M.M.C., et al. 2012. Estimating greenhouse gas emissions from cattle raising in Brazil. Climate Change. Vol. 115, Issue 3-4, 559-577.
3. IBGE Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. 2014. Pesquisa Pecuária Municipal/
4. IBGE Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. 2014. Pesquisa Pecuária Municipal
5. Gibbs, H.K., Munger, J., L’Roe, J., Barreto, P., Pereira, R., Christie, M., Amaral, T. and Walker, N.F. (2015). Did Ranchers and Slaughterhouses Respond to Zero Deforestation Agreements in the Brazilian Amazon? Conservation Letters.
6. Oliveria, L.J.C., et al. 2013. Large-scale expansion of agriculture in Amazonia may be a no-win scenario. Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 8, No. 2.
7. Lawrence, Deborah and Vandecar, Karen. 2015. Effects of tropical deforestation on climate and agriculture. Nature Climate Change, 5, 27-36.
8. Lima, L.S., et al. 2013. "Feedbacks between deforestation, climate, and hydrology in the Southwestern Amazon: implications for the provision of ecosystem services." Landscape Ecology, Vol. 29, Issue 2, 261-274.
9. Oliveira, L.J.C., et al. 2013. Large-scale expansion of agriculture in Amazonia may be a no-win scenario. Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 8, No. 2.
10. Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE). 2014. Projeto PRODES–monitoriamento da foresta amazônica brasileira por satélite. Projeto–PRODES.
11. Gibbs, H.K., Munger, J., L’Roe, J., Barreto, P., Pereira, R., Christie, M., Amaral, T. and Walker, N.F. (2015). Did Ranchers and Slaughterhouses Respond to Zero Deforestation Agreements in the Brazilian Amazon? Conservation Letters.
12. Gibbs, H.K., Munger, J., L’Roe, J., Barreto, P., Pereira, R., Christie, M., Amaral, T. and Walker, N.F. (2015). Did Ranchers and Slaughterhouses Respond to Zero Deforestation Agreements in the Brazilian Amazon? Conservation Letters.
24. Associação Brasileira das Indústrias Exportadoras de Carne (ABIEC). Balanço da pecuária.
25. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Divisions, Trade Statistics (UN Comtrade Database), 2015.
26. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Divisions, Trade Statistics (UN Comtrade Database), 2015.
27. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Divisions, Trade Statistics (UN Comtrade Database), 2015.
28. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Divisions, Trade Statistics (UN Comtrade Database), 2015.
44. Gibbs, H.K., Munger, J., L’Roe, J., Barreto, P., Pereira, R., Christie, M., Amaral, T. and Walker, N.F. (2015). Did Ranchers and Slaughterhouses Respond to Zero Deforestation Agreements in the Brazilian Amazon? Conservation Letters.
45. Gibbs, H.K., Munger, J., L’Roe, J., Barreto, P., Pereira, R., Christie, M., Amaral, T. and Walker, N.F. (2015). Did Ranchers and Slaughterhouses Respond to Zero Deforestation Agreements in the Brazilian Amazon? Conservation Letters.
46. Gibbs, H.K., Munger, J., L’Roe, J., Barreto, P., Pereira, R., Christie, M., Amaral, T. and Walker, N.F. (2015). Did Ranchers and Slaughterhouses Respond to Zero Deforestation Agreements in the Brazilian Amazon? Conservation Letters.
47. Gibbs, H.K., Munger, J., L’Roe, J., Barreto, P., Pereira, R., Christie, M., Amaral, T. and Walker, N.F. (2015). Did Ranchers and Slaughterhouses Respond to Zero Deforestation Agreements in the Brazilian Amazon? Conservation Letters.
50. Gibbs, H.K., Munger, J., L’Roe, J., Barreto, P., Pereira, R., Christie, M., Amaral, T. and Walker, N.F. (2015). Did Ranchers and Slaughterhouses Respond to Zero Deforestation Agreements in the Brazilian Amazon? Conservation Letters.
51. Gibbs, H.K., Munger, J., L’Roe, J., Barreto, P., Pereira, R., Christie, M., Amaral, T. and Walker, N.F. (2015). Did Ranchers and Slaughterhouses Respond to Zero Deforestation Agreements in the Brazilian Amazon? Conservation Letters.
52. Gibbs, H.K., Munger, J., L’Roe, J., Barreto, P., Pereira, R., Christie, M., Amaral, T. and Walker, N.F. (2015). Did Ranchers and Slaughterhouses Respond to Zero Deforestation Agreements in the Brazilian Amazon? Conservation Letters.
53. Gibbs, H.K., Munger, J., L’Roe, J., Barreto, P., Pereira, R., Christie, M., Amaral, T. and Walker, N.F. (2015). Did Ranchers and Slaughterhouses Respond to Zero Deforestation Agreements in the Brazilian Amazon? Conservation Letters.
54. Gibbs, H.K., Munger, J., L’Roe, J., Barreto, P., Pereira, R., Christie, M., Amaral, T. and Walker, N.F. (2015). Did Ranchers and Slaughterhouses Respond to Zero Deforestation Agreements in the Brazilian Amazon? Conservation Letters.