Indigenous groups sue French retailer Casino for involvement in cattle ranching deforestation



Eleven indigenous groups in Brazil and Colombia have filed a lawsuit against Casino seeking $3.7 million in damages. Backed by several international NGOs, the group links the company to deforestation, land grabbing, and violence against native peoples in the Amazon rainforest, mainly driven by cattle ranching. In a statement, the groups accuse the French retailer of being responsible for the deforestation of an area “five times the size of Paris.”


The supermarket chain—which is the parent company of Brazil’s largest food retailer GPA (Pão de Açúcar Group) and Colombian retailer Almacenes Éxito—is being taken to court under a French law enacted in 2017 that obliges companies to avoid human rights and environmental violations in their supply chains. “The demand for bovine meat by Casino and Pão de Açúcar results in deforestation and land grabbing, violence, and in the murder of indigenous leaders when they try to resist it,” explained Luis Eloy Terena, leader of the Terena people, during an online press conference. “With this lawsuit, we seek to hold the company accountable for the consequences of these impacts and to bring some relief to the reality confronted by our indigenous peoples on their lands.”


According to the group, Casino buys its products from multinational giant JBS, which has itself been accused several times of having ties to agricultural practices involving illegal deforestation and even slave labor. Besides that, the indigenous groups say traditional lands of the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau people in Brazil have been invaded and exploited by animal farmers that supply meat to the Pão de Açúcar supermarket chain, a subsidiary of the Casino group in the country.