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Meat Giant JBS Caught in Greenwashing Lies Scandal by NY Attorney General

In a move likely to shake the foundations of the global meat industry's integrity, New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against JBS USA Food Co. and its holding company, JBS USA Co. Holdings.


The lawsuit accuses JBS of lying to the public about its environmental footprint and falsely advertising its commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. This claim comes amidst plans by JBS to ramp up production, inherently increasing its carbon emissions, starkly contradicting its purported sustainability goals.

JBS Graphic

Source: Public Domain


The lawsuit highlights a growing concern over "greenwashing," where companies exploit consumer demand for environmentally friendly products by falsely portraying their goods or services as such.


According to AG Letitia James, JBS USA's deceptive marketing strategies not only mislead consumers but also jeopardise efforts to combat climate change. "As families continue to face the daily impacts of the climate crisis, they are willing to spend more of their hard-earned money on products from brands that are better for the environment," James stated, condemning JBS USA's actions as an exploitation of consumer trust and environmental sustainability.


JBS USA, in defense, asserts its dedication to a sustainable future in agriculture, expressing disagreement with the lawsuit's claims. However, the company's environmental claims have been previously challenged. In 2021, the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division Review Board advised JBS USA to discontinue several of its net-zero claims, finding them misleading.


JBS Greenwashing Graphic

Source: Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy


The lawsuit seeks to end JBS USA's "Net Zero by 2040" advertising campaign, enforce a third-party audit for compliance with New York’s consumer protection statutes, and demand compensation for any profits gained through these misleading practices, alongside penalties for each violation.


This case shines a light on the urgent need for transparency and accountability in corporate environmental commitments, challenging other companies to uphold their promises for a sustainable future.


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