Main image: © Suzanne Plunkett / Greenpeace
Yesterday (25 June), delegates arriving for Tesco’s Annual General Meeting were greeted by activists holding giant letters spelling out the words ‘FOREST CRIME’ 10 metres wide at Tesco’s Welwyn Garden City headquarters.
Thousands of personal, passionate and urgent pleas from Tesco customers for the supermarket to end its part in deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and other areas of Brazil were handwritten on the 1.5 metre high letters.
Two activists also read messages through loud hailers outside the meeting.
Tesco boycott threats
In total 10,000 messages – many threatening a boycott of the supermarket if action wasn’t taken – were received by Greenpeace and delivered to Tesco as part of the peaceful direct action.
A further 250,000 people have signed a petition calling on Tesco to drop forest destroyers.
A message from Brazilian indigenous leader Sonia Guajajara was also written on one of the giant letters and delivered alongside those from customers.
Sonia has joined hundreds of Indigenous protestors outside Brazil’s Congress in Brasília over the last two weeks objecting to a bill that, if approved, would open up indigenous people’s lands to agriculture as well as mining and major infrastructure projects.
Sonia received no direct reply to a video message she sent to Tesco last September.
‘Tesco, you have a choice. As the Amazon burns, will you continue to do business with forest destroyers, fanning the flames of the fires? Or will you take your share of the responsibility and stop funding companies whose greed is destroying the forest and threatening our culture, our land and our lives?’
Brazilian indigenous leader
Cutting through greenwash
Overnight, stencilled messages in chalk that read ‘Tesco meat = deforestation’ appeared at entrances to Tesco stores across the country.
Over 200 stores have received this stencilled message so far, marking just the beginning of plans to visit every Tesco store in the UK.
Stores will be targeted with a series of peaceful direct actions over the coming months calling out Tesco’s role in deforestation and fires across Brazil to cut through the supermarket’s greenwash.
‘When Tesco sells you a British chicken, it won’t mention the forest crime that took place to produce it. Tesco’s chicken supplier is owned by a company notorious for destroying the Amazon rainforest. And Tesco’s chicken is reared on soya that’s driving deforestation and fires across Brazil.
‘Indigenous Peoples are facing an assault on their rights as forests like the Amazon are being slashed and deliberately burned for industrial meat production. It’s killing wildlife, the risk of future pandemics is increasing and it’s playing havoc with the climate.
‘10,000 shoppers have sent personal pleas for Tesco to drop forest destroyers from its supply chain – many threatening a boycott if it doesn’t. Tesco can’t afford to ignore them and we won’t stop campaigning until Tesco stops greenwashing and takes action.’
Senior forests campaigner at Greenpeace UK