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JBS outlines sustainability progress in 2016 report

Tannery owner and meatpacker JBS has published its sustainability report for 2016, highlights of which include an 8% drop in water consumption at its Brazilian facilities.

Although the group is the world’s biggest tannery operator (with 21 units) it is also one of the world’s biggest food companies, so many of the achievements listed focus on these areas.

In January 2016 all carcasses from the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, one of Brazil’s biggest producer centres, were classified under its Green Light Pact, an initiative to improve production facilities.

JBS is also a partner in the New Field Programme, which aims to increase best livestock production practices on farms in the Legal Amazon. It provides guidance on social, environmental and production issues for livestock breeders in the Alta Floresta region, the largest livestock breeding centre in Mato Grosso. 

During the year, there was an increase in pasture capacity of almost 100%, while livestock breeders were able to process animals after just 12 months of fattening, a 500% increase in meat output. The group calculates this increase in efficiency saved 40,000 hectares of forest from deforestation.

Of the more than 70,000 cattle suppliers in Brazil, 10,700 were registered in 2016 – 11% more than in 2015 - using satellite imagery, farm geo-referencing data and information from government agencies. When the system detects supplier farms that are non-compliant with the company’s social and environmental criteria, the farm’s commercial registration is suspended. 

The Brazilian group says leather is equal to about 17% of the animal’s value, with meat taking up 58% and 25% used for other purposes. 

The company opened a leather showroom in High Point, US, during the year to promote products during the four annual US industry fairs. 

JBS described 2016 as “challenging” for the beef industry following shrinking herds and stable prices. “The outlook for 2017 is better,” it said. “On the supply side, we expect to see animal supplies improve as the number of female animals held back reduces. Additionally, the number of animals in feedlots fell in 2016 because of high grain prices and these animals will come to market in 2017, reducing producer cost pressures. On the demand side, domestic consumption should remain flat compared with last year. We expect exports to improve following the US agreement on fresh beef exports.”

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