NY Attorney General sues world's largest beef producer over climate change concerns

Letitia James accuses the world's largest beef producer of 'greenwashing' and endangering consumer trust.

NY Attorney General sues world's largest beef producer over climate change concerns
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
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New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against JBS USA, the globe's top beef producer, for allegedly misleading consumers about its environmental sustainability efforts and the true impact of its operations on climate change.

Highlighting the significant greenhouse gas emissions associated with beef production, James challenges the company's public commitments to achieving net-zero emissions by 2030 and 2040 as unrealistic and deceptive.

In her statement, James emphasized the growing concern among consumers for environmentally responsible products, accusing JBS USA of exploiting these concerns through false advertising.

"As families continue to face the daily impacts of the climate crisis, they are willing to spend more of their hard-earned money on products from brands that are better for the environment," James stated. "When companies falsely advertise their commitment to sustainability, they are misleading consumers and endangering our planet."

"JBS USA’s greenwashing exploits the pocketbooks of everyday Americans and the promise of a healthy planet for future generations," she added. "My office will always ensure that companies do not abuse the environment and the trust of hardworking consumers for profit."

The legal action has garnered support from state Democrats and environmental groups, including Earthjustice and Friends of the Earth US, praising James's efforts to confront corporate greenwashing. Critics of JBS USA argue that the company's proclaimed sustainability goals require significant operational changes that have yet to be observed, accusing it of insufficient action towards its ambitious net-zero targets.

JBS USA has responded, defending its commitment to sustainable agriculture and denying the accusations made by the New York Attorney General's office.

"JBS will continue to partner with farmers, ranchers and our food system partners around the world to help feed a growing population while using fewer resources and reducing agriculture’s environmental impact," said the company in a statement to Fox News. "Our belief that American agriculture can help sustainably feed the world is undeterred."

This lawsuit emerges amidst a broader global focus on the agricultural sector's role in climate change, with the industry facing increasing pressure to reduce its carbon footprint significantly.

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