Brazil food companies to push suppliers into emissions reporting

Some large Brazilian food companies have joined organizations active in climate programs to develop tools to better measure greenhouse gases emitted by themselves and their suppliers.

JBS, the world’s largest beef processor; AMaggi, a top trader of soy and corn; Marfrig, a global processor of animal protein; and the local arm of food giant Bunge Ltd have all entered a program to develop new guidelines to measure emissions from the agricultural sector.

The companies want suppliers to adopt emissions reporting practices to assure investors and foreign food buyers that they are trying to produce in a sustainable way, said representatives working on the program.

Washington-based World Resources Institute (WRI) coordinated the work to create the guidelines to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

This is not the first time these Brazilian firms have acted to reduce environmental risks. According to the WRI, agriculture accounts for about 13 percent of global emissions of heat-trapping gases. Brazil ranks second to China among the largest GHG emitters from agriculture.

In addition to emissions typically associated with farming, such as methane from cattle belching or nitrous oxide from use of fertilizers, there is deforestation. Most of the emissions from deforestation are connected to the expansion of farming in developing countries. And Brazil has lost 36 million hectares of forest over the last 12 years, mainly in new frontiers for agricultural production.