- Environmental activists are calling on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to halt JBS’ planned listing on the New York Stock Exchange due to concerns over the world’s largest meatpacker's impact on deforestation and climate change.
- Groups including the Rainforest Action Network and Mighty Earth say an initial public offering would open the door for JBS to secure additional funding from investors despite questions over the company's corporate practices.
- JBS said in a statement to Agriculture Dive that its proposed IPO advances “efforts to enhance corporate governance and transparency” as the company would be subject to SEC standards. The meatpacker also noted plans to form a majority independent board.
The Brazil-based meat giant’s alleged failure to adhere to its climate pledges raises questions around corporate governance and transparency, creating risk for investors, activists argue.
Among other things, activists noted that there is little transparency around the company’s plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2040. JBS increased its annual greenhouse gas emissions by 51% between 2016 and 2021, according to the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy, and the company recently pulled labeling claims around its 2040 target after a review board called them “aspirational.”
“This is probably the single most important IPO for the climate in history,” Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz said in a statement. “There are profound implications for the planet if JBS, the world’s worst Amazon deforester, is given the go ahead to seek billions of dollars from Wall Street to continue tearing down rainforest, polluting on a vast scale, and driving land-grabbing.”
JBS’ listings on the New York and São Paulo stock exchanges are expected by the end of the year. The meatpacking giant has long eyed a public listing in the U.S., but plans were derailed by a 2017 corruption scandal and, later, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Activists are urging the SEC to oppose the listing or investigate claims made in JBS' prospectus. In a statement to Agriculture Dive, JBS said it is “confident our dual listing proposal will create opportunities for our company, team members, shared communities and all stakeholders.”
“We recognize the important role of civil society and we are always open to dialogue with thoughtful stakeholders who share our commitment to a more sustainable future,” JBS said in its emailed statement. “We look forward to enhancing our collaboration with NGOs and other key stakeholders during this next phase in the company’s evolution.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from JBS.