National Advertising Review Board Recommends JBS Discontinue “Net Zero” Emissions by 2040 Claims

New York, NY – June 20, 2023 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate advertising body of BBB National Programs, recommended that JBS USA Holdings, Inc. discontinue certain claims relating to its goal of achieving “net zero” emissions by 2040. 

JBS is the second-largest food company and the largest animal protein producer in the world. Its numerous retail brands include Swift, Pilgrim’s Pride, and Seara. 

The advertising at issue had been challenged before the National Advertising Division (NAD) by the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy (IATP), a not-for-profit organization with the stated mission of working for fair and sustainable food and farm systems. Following NAD’s decision (Case No. 7135), JBS appealed NAD’s recommendations to discontinue five challenged express claims. 

In agreement with NAD, the NARB panel concluded that NAD reached the correct result in determining that the challenged claims communicate misleading messages. The NARB panel determined 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. Rather, JBS is in the exploratory stage of its effort directed toward the net zero 2040 goal.

The NARB panel recommended that JBS discontinue the challenged “net zero” claims, including that:

  • “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”; and
  • “The SBTi recognized the net zero commitment of JBS.”

 

The NARB panel noted that JBS is not precluded from making 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 stated that it “disagrees with the NAD and NARB’s interpretation of how consumers perceive the challenged claims as well as NARB’s conclusion about the record evidence, but JBS will comply with NARB’s recommendation in published statements and advertising claims going forward.”

All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive.

 

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