Call for Tesco to be investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority over sale of banned Brazilian meat and greenwashing claims

Sydney Jones

Press Secretary

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Carole Mitchell

Sr. Director Communications

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Mighty Earth alerts the UK government’s corporate watchdog alleging Tesco made misleading climate claims in violation of the CMA’s Green Claims Code  

 

(London, UK), Mighty Earth is calling on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate Tesco for selling Brazilian beef and chicken products it previously claimed it had banned and for making misleading climate statements in violation of the CMA’s Green Claims Code, which sets the standard to ensure businesses’ environmental claims are not misleading or ‘greenwashing.’ 

Mighty Earth has written to the CMA alleging that Tesco continues to stock Brazilian beef and chicken products, despite Tesco’s announcement it was banning all Brazilian meat in August 2020, due to links to Amazon deforestation. Yet two years on, Mighty Earth has found the retailer continues to stock the Brazilian meat products it “banned” on its shelves including Princes corned beef, clearly marked as Brazilian beef. Chicken products shipped from Brazil and sold by Tesco include Bridge Valley chicken tikka pieces. Mighty Earth alleges Tesco makes false claims regarding ‘the total life cycle of a product or service’ and may be in breach of consumer protection law. 

Mighty Earth is calling on the CMA to further investigate a wider range of chicken products from Tesco supplier, Westbridge Foods Ltd, who Mighty Earth found shipped hundreds of tonnes of Brazilian chicken to the UK for use in ready meals.  

The complaint also raises questions about a £10 million investment Tesco publicly claims to have made to a project called “Funding for Soy Farmers in the Cerrado.” This fund was established in response to public concern about deforestation linked to the meat and soy industry in the Cerrado savannah, the most threatened biome in Brazil. Around half of the Cerrado has been lost to the meat industry to grow soy to feed animals in intensive farming systems. However, Tesco’s £10 million investment was never made to the fund.  

Mighty Earth insists Tesco’s 2050 Net Zero claims and its 2025 no deforestation and conversion target date are unachievable while it continues to source soy from US commodities giant and known forest destroyer, Cargill, whose 2030 date to end deforestation is five years behind that of Tesco. A recent Mighty Earth investigation found Tesco chicken and pork products were linked to 625 hectares of Amazon deforestation in Cargill’s soy supply chain. Cargill has suspended this farm but has failed to take any remedial action and Tesco have refused to cut ties with Cargill. 

Gemma Hoskins, UK Senior Director at Mighty Earth, said:  

“Our complaint to the CMA highlights that Tesco is misleading the public on its climate credentials and it is still selling Brazilian meat products to unsuspecting customers, despite announcing a ban in 2020 due to deforestation concerns.”  

“How can customers have any confidence in Tesco’s claims that it’s a “climate leader” when its shelves are still stocked with products that are driving the destruction of nature in the Amazon and its neighbour, the Cerrado. And what happened to the £10 million that Tesco claimed it was giving to help protect the Cerrado from further soy expansion?” 

“We urge the CMA to take a close look at what Tesco says it’s doing and what it is actually doing, which in reality appears to be nothing more than greenwashing.” 

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