Increasing Social Pressure: Environmental Activists Urge US Regulators to Halt JBS Listing Amid Environmental Concerns

Increasing Social Pressure: Environmental Activists Urge US Regulators to Halt JBS Listing Amid Environmental Concerns


A coalition of environmental advocacy groups is exerting pressure on U.S. securities regulators to block the New York share listing of JBS SA, the world's largest meatpacker, over concerns related to deforestation, climate change, and other environmental issues. The Brazilian company aims to leverage a U.S. listing to attract a wider investor base, thereby gaining access to more cost-effective capital.

Notable environmental organizations, including Rainforest Action Network, Mighty Earth, and World Animal Protection, have jointly dispatched letters to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), urging it to either oppose the initial public offering (IPO) or thoroughly investigate the assertions made in JBS's prospectus. According to Glenn Hurowitz, Chief Executive of Mighty Earth, "This is probably the single most important IPO for the climate in history."

The destruction of rainforests, which play a crucial role in sequestering carbon, poses a serious threat to global climate targets.

JBS has responded to the concerns by asserting that its listing proposal will enhance corporate governance and transparency through adherence to SEC standards. The company has also expressed a willingness to engage with non-governmental organizations. Activists have long criticized JBS for its alleged exploitation of the environment and labor force. The practice of cattle ranching, coupled with land clearing for timber sale and crop cultivation, contributes significantly to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. In response, the beef industry argues that a majority of deforestation is driven by criminal activities.

World Animal Protection has communicated to the SEC that JBS, which procures grain for livestock feed, inadequately identified crop farming as a pivotal risk factor for deforestation in its prospectus. In a response, the SEC stated that the concerns raised by World Animal Protection would be meticulously considered in light of the Commission's broader enforcement responsibilities under U.S. federal securities laws.

While the SEC declined to provide specific comments to Reuters, it is evident that the regulatory body is taking the matter seriously.

A previous audit conducted by Brazilian prosecutors revealed that nearly 17% of the cattle purchased by JBS from the Amazon rainforest in the Para state between July 2019 and June 2020 were allegedly sourced from ranches associated with "irregularities," including illegal deforestation. JBS, at the time, stated that corrective actions had been undertaken to address the issues linked to these purchases.

Merel van der Mark, a coordinator at Rainforest Action Network, remarked that the prospectus lacks a clear roadmap to ensure JBS's non-involvement in deforestation.

To address some of these concerns, JBS is utilizing blockchain technology to monitor its suppliers' suppliers. The company has announced that as of January 2026, only producers registered in its blockchain tool will be eligible to continue conducting business with JBS.

JBS anticipates finalizing its U.S. listing by the end of this year. Once the SEC confirms the offering's compliance with U.S. securities regulations and offers its comments, the company can then proceed to seek shareholders' approval for the deal.

The pursuit of a U.S. listing has been underway for nearly a decade but was previously delayed, partly due to a 2017 corporate corruption scandal in Brazil and subsequently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation exemplifies the increasing social and regulatory pressures organizations face to ensure their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices align with contemporary standards and expectations.