A Casino supermarket (illustrative image).

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ROMAIN LAFABREGUE / AFP

Casino has been put on formal notice by an international group of associations.

According to their lawyers, the group is required "to respect the legal obligations which are imposed on the company Casino Guichard-Perrachon in terms of duty of vigilance and risks linked to deforestation in South America", we can read in a letter sent this Monday to the CEO of the group, Jean-Charles Naouri.

The procedure of these NGOs, including Notre Affaire à tous, Sherpa, Mighty Earth and Envol Vert, is based on a report by the latter published in June.

It linked four farms linked to illegal deforestation in Brazil, the Amazon and the Cerrado and 52 products "sold on the shelves and also in the butcher's stalls of two stores of the group".

Deforestation and the rights of indigenous peoples

“These farms alone represent 4,500 hectares of forests illegally cut to make way for cattle to graze.

Protected indigenous lands are also converted, ”denounced the Colombian NGO report.

In the letter of formal notice, the lawyers point out that “the field investigation carried out by Envol Vert has made it possible to demonstrate that these suppliers of the Casino group […] have regularly supplied themselves to farms implicated in the activities of deforestation and native land grabbing ”.

The NGOs demand that the group establish a risk mapping, traceability throughout the supply chain as well as the establishment of an alert system, in particular in the event of violation of the rights of the Amazonian peoples.

"When Casino says that they have verified that their three main suppliers source directly from farms that do not have deforestation, it is the object of this file to tell them that it is not enough", a argues Me François de Cambiaire.

A period of three months

If the company "does not come into compliance within three months", the associations said they were ready to take the case to court and "seek compensation for the damage resulting from it", said the NGOs in a joint press release.

The law on the duty of vigilance invoked obliges companies with more than 5,000 employees in France, or more than 10,000 worldwide to publish a vigilance plan intended to prevent risks in terms of the environment, human rights and corruption which could result from their activities and those of their subsidiaries, suppliers and subcontractors.

"The links between the meat sold by Casino and deforestation show how much this law is necessary today," said Sandra Cossart, director of the NGO Sherpa.

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