May 2021

Big Livestock, deforestation and financial flows: why parliamentary pensions investments in Big Livestock companies matter

The UK prides itself on being a world leader on climate action, and in particular deforestation. New legislative proposals from the UK government plan to introduce a due diligence obligation on companies trading in forest risk commodities – but exempts the financial sector which finances this trade. This report analyses sample investments held by the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF) and reveals that Members of Parliament hold pensions investments in a fund holding US$67m in stock from companies among the top 35 largest global meat and dairy companies. The fund includes shares of JBS, one of the biggest meat producers in the world whose business practices have been repeatedly linked to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest and Cerrado region. These investments demonstrate why regulation is needed: MPs who strongly support an end to U.K. complicity in global deforestation will go on the record while, unknowingly, paying their own money into a fund that backs some of the worst offenders in forest destruction. Domestic legislation on deforestation which fails to address one of the most integral parts of the supply chain, finance, leaves gaping loopholes. Incorporating a due diligence obligation on finance sector organisations would close many of these gaps.

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