New York AG Sued a Beef Producer for Misleading the Public about Its Plans to Reach Net-Zero

New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against JBS USA Food Company—a subsidiary of the world’s largest producer of beef products and a significant emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—for misleading its consumers by making false claims about the company’s plans to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2040. The lawsuit argued that JBS made these claims to consumers without any “viable plan to meet [this] commitment,” and argued that coming up with such a plan may not even be possible given that there are “no proven agricultural practices to reduce…greenhouse gas emissions to net zero at the JBS Group’s current scale.” In fact, the company’s greenhouse gas emissions are likely to increase by 2040 due to its plans to expand its beef distribution, according to the lawsuit. Pointing to a study that found that consumers will pay up to 30% more for “net-zero” products, the petition argued that JBS used these false marketing practices to protect its profits from an increasingly environmentally-conscious customer base. The company continued to make false claims even after receiving warnings from the Better Business Bureau. The AG is seeking penalties of at least $5,000 per violation and an injunction against the company to stop all misleading marketing.