Daily Management Review

French Supermarket Giant Casino Sued By Indigenous Amazonians For Rainforest Destruction


French Supermarket Giant Casino Sued By Indigenous Amazonians For Rainforest Destruction
A lawsuit was filed against the French retailer Casino in a French court by indigenous people from Brazil and Colombia in which they alleged that the retailer was selling beef that had links with notorious incidents of land grabbing and deforestation in the Amazon, according to campaigners involved in the court case.
The case was filed under a 2017 law in France that mandates French companies to not be involved in violation of human rights and environmental laws in their supply chains and this is the first instance that a French supermarket chain company is facing a lawsuit for alleged deforestation and the loss of land and livelihood.
Casino said that it actively campaigned against deforestation by cattle ranchers in Brazil and Colombia, said the French company that has controlling stake in Brazil's largest food retailer, Grupo Pao de Acucar (GPA) as well as kin Colombian retailer Almacenes Exito.
Three slaughterhouses owned by a major Brazilian meatpacker were the regular suppliers of beef for Casino, the lawsuit alleged.
According to the lawsuit, the three identified slaughterhouses in turn sourced cattle from almost 600 suppliers which have been alleged to be engaged in deforestation of at least 50,000 hectares between 2008 and 2020. That area if five times the size of Paris.
"The demand for beef by Casino and Pão de Açúcar brings deforestation and land grabbing and violence," Luis Eloy Terena of COIAB, a body coordinating indigenous groups in the Brazilian Amazon, said in a statement.
There was a rigorous policy in place by FPA for its suppliers with relation to monitoring the origin of beef delivered by its suppliers, said Casino, and added that it does not sell Brazilian beef in France.
There are criteria created in 2016 that the suppliers of GPA need to comply with, the company said. These include "zero Amazon deforestation, no slave-like labour conditions, no child labour and no invasions of indigenous land or conservation areas."  The company said that land ownership documents should be available with ranchers.
After France, Brazil is Casino's second largest market.
A critical role in regulating the Earth’s climate is played by the Amazon as this green zone soaks up carbon dioxide – a major greenhouse gas that is the major cause of global warming.
Campaign groups say that last year, an area in the Amazon rainforest equal to that of Israel was felled. They claim that the leading reason for the deforestation and habitat loss is cattle ranching with meat consumption growing because of population growth and the expanding middle classes in the developing countries.
There was failure on the part of Casino to uphold its obligations to scrutinise their supply chains, said Sebastian Mabile, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.
"We want them to pay approximately 3 million euros to the organisations that represent indigenous peoples and ensure that their activities do not entail deforestation," Mabile told a press conference.
There is pressure on companies from national legislation and campaigners to protect the Amazon.