In The Wash
Marfrig’s commitment to feed the world
This advert from Marfrig suggesting their burgers help protect the planet was spotted in a magazine available at the 2021 Climate conference (COP26). It is symbolic of how the meat industry uses climate summits, as an opportunity to greenwash its image.
Marfrig has ‘committed’ to reduce its emissions by 68% (scope 1 and 2) and 33% (scope 3) by 2035, but its overall lack of transparency, and particularly its failure to publish animal slaughter numbers, make it nearly impossible to verify this claim and hold the company to account. The text in this advert is remarkably vague and focus purely on Marfrig having a target whereas the headline claims that they’re actually reducing emissions. It is somewhat true, but inflated, as GHG reductions between 2020 and 2021 were only 1.66%.
Marfrig, the second largest beef producer in the world, has a methane emissions footprint that rivals Australia’s entire livestock methane emissions, and total greenhouse gas emissions of 102.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. However, emissions from enteric fermentation (the largest source of methane emissions) reduced by only 1.22% between 2020 and 2021.
Marfrig is one of the many meat companies that were granted access (and therefore influence) to key climate talks at COP26 as part of the Brazilian delegation. Coincidently (or not), Brazil, with its large and influential meat industry, is also one of the countries which has a track record of watering down IPCC reports: in 2023, they lobbied to have the wording on shifting to more plant-based diets watered down, whilst in 2021, they pushed to remove references to beef as ‘high-carbon food’.
Doesn't reflect the full life cycle