Greenpeace activists staged demonstrations in Tesco stores in Peckham and Camberwell last week, calling on the supermarket giant to ‘cut ties with forest destroyers’.
The volunteers from Southwark handed letters written by Brazilian Indigenous Leader Sônia Guajajara and Greenpeace executive director of Greenpeace John Sauven outlining the threats posed by industrial meat production. They also gathered outside the shop fronts with placards proclaiming ‘Tesco destroys forests for meat’.
Alex, a Greenpeace volunteer from Camberwell, said: “I have had enough of the negligence of big corporations, turning a blind eye to the negative environmental impact they are having, causing deforestation and contributing to climate change.
“More needs to be done to drop rainforest destroyers from their supply chain as a matter of urgency and instead start stocking more healthy plant-based alternatives to meat.
“We’ve seen from the recent UN report that we are in a state of climate emergency and don’t have the luxury of time to tackle the matter.”
The protest is part of a coordinated national strategy of action which has seen climate activists visit more than 630 of Tesco’s 3,000-odd shops in the UK.
The demonstrations come as new research shows the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has now reached a tipping point and is now emitting more carbon than in can store as a result of human activity, including deforestation and farming. Global meat companies have been described as using ‘tobacco company tactics’ to downplay the role meat production has on the environment and climate change.
Greenpeace alleges that although Tesco has claimed to meet key targets its meat is ‘not deforestation free’ as it still buys from large factory-farmers and soya-fed producers.
Alex added: “Tesco cares about their public image and their links with forest destroyers are not making them look good.
“Customers don’t want their weekly shop to cost the earth, so we’ll keep bringing the message that Tesco meat equals deforestation directly to stores until the UK’s largest supermarket lives up to its promise to remove deforestation from its supply chain.”
A Tesco spokesperson told the News: “We share Greenpeace’s aim to end deforestation in the Amazon.
“It’s why we’ve set challenging public targets committing to zero deforestation, it’s why we’ve committed to a 300 per cent increase in the sales of plant-based meat alternatives, why we don’t sell Brazilian beef and why we support action to ensure all food sold in the UK is deforestation-free.”
The company says it advocates tougher UK laws aimed at forbidding large firms from using produce from illegally deforested land and that it is the first UK retailer to have set a clear target on increasing its range of plant-based meat alternatives. It has also committed ten million pounds to the Cerrado Funding Coalition, which aims to protect native vegetation and transition to only producing soy – often used as animal feed – on land already used for agriculture.