JBS CEO Tomazoni: Technology to Sustainably Feed the World

During Davos, JBS Global CEO Gilberto Tomazoni Called for Financial Backing of Farmers
CEO Gilberto Tomazoni of World’s Largest Meat Producer JBS on Feeding a Growing Global Population, Reducing Greenhouse Gases and Supporting Small Producers

From the desert dunes of Dubai to snow-capped peaks of Davos, there has only been one story in town in recent months – sustainability.

However, sustainability is a multi-faceted challenge, which goes far beyond climate, and those conversations held at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos probably took a more pragmatic approach to the biggest challenges we face.

Taking an active part in both gatherings was JBS Foods, the world’s biggest meat producer with 260,000 employees worldwide, more than 120 brands and a food footprint in 190 countries – a company facing the twin tasks of feeding a growing global population while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

At Davos, JBS Global CEO Gilberto Tomazoni warned against making food more expensive while making it more sustainable, in order to feed poorer sectors of society.

Speaking at the First Movers Coalition for Food panel, Tomazoni said one-third of the world’s population does not currently have access to adequate nutrition, so it is essential to provide knowledge and access to funding to small producers as they transition to more sustainable methods.

Tomazoni said agriculture is a key solution to tackling climate change and feeding the growing population, which is expected to reach nearly 10 billion people by 2050, according to the UN.

Headquartered in Brazil, JBS signed up to the First Movers Food Coalition last month, at COP28, along with other 20 major food companies, from Cargill to Danone.

The First Movers Coalition for Food aims to harness the purchasing power of large companies like JBS and governments to drive the adoption of more sustainable production methods.

CEO Gilberto Tomazoni Leads JBS, the World's Biggest Meat Producer

Need to Use Technology and Finance for Sustainable Food Industry

With food systems responsible for around 30% of GHG emissions but receiving less than 4% of climate financing, clearly there is a disconnect, and an opportunity.

"Especially for the small producer, access to initial capital is essential to transition to more sustainable practices such a planting cocoa in addition to rearing livestock, reducing the need to clear land and ensuring producer productivity and income generation."

In the First Movers Coalition for Food panel, which also featured Ramón Laguarta, President and CEO of PepsiCo and Megan Scarsella, Executive Director of the Eleven Eleven Foundation, panelists agreed that the role of food systems is at an inflection point. 

WEF estimates that US$10 trillion (more than 12% of global GDP) is generated by the food industry, which also accounts for 40% of all jobs. On a negative note, food production accounts for more than 70% of global freshwater consumption.

"Throughout the food chain, we must help our producer partners adopt new technologies and manage their operations more sustainably, according to the highest environmental standards," said Tomazoni. 

Tomazoni says the technologies to achieve this are already available, but it requires initial capital for farmers to integrate technologies.

“We need to unite forces because this is one of the challenges we need to solve together, among society, the public sector, and the private sector. It is a fact that we need to feed the global population and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The most important thing is that we put farmers – people - at the centre.”

At Davos, JBS Global CEO Gilberto Tomazoni Joined the First Movers Coalition for Food Panel

JBS Feeding the World Sustainably

JBS is the world’s largest food company by revenue, and the largest global producer of protein-based food products, producing poultry, pork, beef, lamb, and plant-based products.

With more than 260,000 employees in over 20 countries on five continents including the US, UK, China, Australia, and Canada (and with 143,000 people in Brazil), JBS delivers a broad portfolio of more than 150 brands – with Swift, Pilgirm’s Pride and Blue Ribbon Beef among the most known.

The first global meat and poultry company to pledge to achieving net-zero by 2040, JBS has already achieved 45.1% renewable electricity across its global operations – and is committed to working with farmer and rancher partners to improve agricultural practices and prevent deforestation.

As Chief Sustainability Officer Jason Weller puts it: “If you consider that JBS works with and relies upon hundreds of thousands of farmers worldwide who produce food from hundreds of millions of acres of crop, pasture, and range lands on nearly a daily basis, we have both a steep challenge and incredible opportunity to catalyse huge, positive impact to address our most pressing challenges.”

Given that JBS is headquartered in Brazil, the home of the Amazon Rainforest, the producer’s sustainability goals and anti-deforestation policies go hand in hand.

According to the company’s Responsible Raw Material Procurement Policy, JBS “prohibits the purchase of livestock from farms involved in deforestation, forced labour, invasion of indigenous territories, or embargoed by Brazilian environmental

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Initiatives in Supporting Farmers in Brazil

Tomazoni highlights JBS Foods' Green Offices initiative in Brazil, aimed at supporting small producers in socio-environmental regularisation and promoting low-carbon livestock practices. 

In 2022, for example, JBS partnered with producers in JBS' Brazilian supply chain through 18 JBS Green Offices to address drivers of deforestation and bring nearly 2,500 farms into compliance with Brazil’s Forest Code. The code requires landowners to maintain 35-80% of their land under native vegetation

JBS has long been calling for a mandatory programme to track cattle raised for beef in Brazil to prevent deforestation and during COP28, the Group announced investment of US$9 million over the next three years to help smallholders in the Para and broader Amazon region.

This investment is financing a pilot project for individual traceability of the cattle herd. 

Also in the State of Para, the JBS und for the Amazon supports a project by the Solidarity NGO with 1,500 families. 


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