JBS USA to Discontinue Using Certain ‘Net Zero’ Claims in Advertising

June 23, 2023
Better Business Bureau’s appellate advertising body reviewed the processor’s claims of “net zero” goals and found some of them misleading to consumers.

According to a release from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a National Advertising Review Board (NARB) panel has recommended that JBS USA Holdings Inc. stop using specific claims of attaining its goal of “net zero” emissions by 2040, stating that those claims were misleading.

The NARB panel recommended the discontinuation of the following claims:

  • “JBS is committing to be net zero by 2040”
  • “Global Commitment to Achieve Net-Zero Greenhouse Emissions by 2040”
  • “Bacon, chicken wings and steak with net zero emissions. It’s possible”
  • “Leading change across the food industry and achieving our goal of net zero by 2040 will be a challenge. Anything less is not an option”
  • “The SBTi recognized the net zero commitment of JBS”

The Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy (IATP) had challenged these claims before the National Advertising Division (NAD) previously, and the NARB supported NAD’s ruling. IATP is a not-for-profit organization with the stated mission of working for fair and sustainable food and farm systems. JBS appealed NAD’s decision, but the NARB panel subsequently concluded that NAD ruling was correct.

The NARB ruling agrees that the challenged claims communicate that JBS is already in the process of implementing a documented plan that has been evaluated and found to have a reasonable expectation of achieving “net zero” by the year 2040. JBS, however, does not have a formulated and vetted plan at present, according to the BBB release. Rather, JBS is in the exploratory stage of its effort directed toward the net zero 2040 goal.

JBS is allowed to make the claim, “Leading change across the food industry and achieving our goal of net zero by 2040 will be a challenge” when the claim is presented by itself, and that nothing in its decision precludes JBS from making narrower truthful claims regarding:

  • Its efforts at researching potential methods for reducing emissions and any efforts it is undertaking to reduce emissions; and
  • The steps it is taking to align its activities with SBTi criteria and its engagement with the SBTi process.

JBS formally stated its disagreement with the ruling, but said it would comply.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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