Did you know the law n ° 2017 - 399 relating to the duty of vigilance of parent companies and ordering companies adopted in March 2017?
Its first article states: “ Art. L. 225-102-4. -I.- Any company which employs, at the end of two consecutive financial years, at least five thousand employees within it and in its direct or indirect subsidiaries whose head office is located on French territory , or at least ten thousand employees within it and in its direct or indirect subsidiaries whose head office is located in France or abroad, establishes and effectively implements a vigilance plan. "
This provision has just been remembered in good memory of the Casino group. Indeed, the French distributor is being sued by eleven environmental organizations and indigenous officials.
The reason ? The Casino group is accused of taking part in deforestation in Brazil and Colombia through its meat purchases. The damage caused to ancestral lands and endangering the lives of native populations would result from a lack of vigilance on the part of the group. Indeed, Casino is criticized for obtaining meat from local companies practicing intensive breeding. The law specifies that it is the buyer's responsibility to ensure that his supplier (s) tick all the boxes of the quality charter, respect for the environment and human rights.
The Casino group is the largest supermarket chain in Brazil and Colombia, with their respective brands Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA) and Grupo Éxito, and the share of its turnover generated on site is considerable. The news is all the more resounding as, as the numerous French and American associations as well as local representatives who attack Casino point out: “This is the first time that a chain of hypermarkets has been sued for facts. deforestation and human rights violations in its supply chain
The charges against the sign are heavy. A lengthy investigation of the plaintiffs revealed that " systemic violations of the environment and human rights have taken place throughout the Casino Group's supply chain in Brazil and Colombia over a significant period " . "According to the Climate Crime Analysis Center," the Casino group would have regularly bought beef from three slaughterhouses which source their livestock from 592 suppliers responsible for at least 50,000 hectares of deforestation between 2008 and 2020 . "
Of course, Casino denies and ensures that the necessary has been done on its side to solve the problem. . It thus claims to have set up a new "Beef and Track" procedure with the NGO Immaflor in July 2020 in order to allow perfect traceability of the products purchased as well as close collaboration with the various local players. But this initiative did not convince the group of plaintiffs, judging that the actions put in place had no real effectiveness.
The debates promise to be heated because of the sensitive nature of the situation in these regions of the world. Indeed, cattle breeding is the main source of deforestation in South America, particularly in Brazil, and in this case, the Casino group will have a lot to do to provide all the evidence that there is no participated; even indirectly.
All the associations accompanied by representatives of the local populations will recall the extreme vulnerability in which the Amazon forest is found. They will put forward an alarming statement from the Brazilian Space Agency (INPE): “ Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has reached its highest level in twelve years. The Amazon is at risk of reaching a point of no return, moving from a tropical rainforest to a savannah. It is also important to stress that governments are also responsible to a greater extent for the disappearance of the Amazon forest. This is how we learned that the Brazilian government removed, last December, all measures to fight against deforestation in its national climate action plan although the disappearance of forests remains the main source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country.
In the coming months, the trial will open which could well set a precedent if the Casino group is convicted. The other brands will follow this closely because they are not exempt, either, from all reproach. Recently, the investigation site Disclose also denounced the role of the Carrefour brand in the deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon.
This trial will at least have the merit of recalling the duties and commitments of the various brands in their purchasing processes and the importance of ensuring that an ethical charter is respected at all levels of the supply chain.