IDH, Carrefour Group Brazil and CNA launch Protocol for Sustainable Production of Calves

The Protocol has been developed in the field to transform Brazilian livestock farming by supporting the inclusion of breeders in need of technical assistance and credit

IDH (The Sustainable Trade Initiative), Carrefour Brazil Group, and CNA (The Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock) launched a tool today (29 March) to support the complete traceability of Brazilian livestock production, from calves to final consumers, providing inclusion, transparency, and data protection.

The Protocol for Sustainable Production of Calves provides technological solutions to accelerate the adoption of more sustainable models in the livestock chain while raising awareness among consumers of the social and environmental performance of products originating from beef cattle.

© Fotografo Adriano Brito
From left to right: Lucio Vicente (Corporate Affairs and Sustainability of Carrefour Brazil Group), Paulo Costa (Protocol Coordinator of CNA Institute), Daniela Mariuzzo (IDH Brazil Executive Director)

The protocol

The protocol lays out procedures for socially and environmentally responsible calf production, starting at the animals’ birth and applied all the way to the last farm before slaughter.

The nationwide protocol, which may be applied to breeding farms in all Brazilian biomes, aims to ensure that animals are identified from birth and that farms are socially and environmentally compliant. The protocol will continue to be tested and fine-tuned, as well as gaining scale in the coming years.

“We are talking about something that has never been done on this scale and format, considering the perspective of rural producers to understand what is feasible and possible to be carried out on a daily basis. It is a voice from the field to the market,” explains Daniela Mariuzzo, IDH Brazil Executive Director & Latam Landscapes Program Director. “The initiative is innovative because it enables a faster and safer connection between producers and consumers. Furthermore, it can position Brazil as a leader in blockchain-tracked livestock production,” she adds. “The next challenge is to shift out of the incubator model and gain scale, through mass membership and innovative partnerships, such as with Wholechain,” she points out.

Daniela Mariuzzo explains how the Protocol works

Success case

The Protocol was drawn up based on the Sustainable Production of Calves Programme, developed since 2019 in Mato Grosso, with investments of €1.9 million from Carrefour Group Brazil and the Carrefour Foundation, and €1.6 million from IDH. Our goal for 2022 is to provide technical, financial, and environmental assistance to 557 producers, for a total of over 190,000 head of cattle, 210,000 hectares of pastureland, and around 188,000 hectares of conserved area in the Amazon, Cerrado, and Pantanal biomes in Mato Grosso.

As a result of this initiative, in July 2021, the first batch of 100% deforestation-free beef was sold, traced from calf birth to the supermarket shelf, and, most importantly, at an affordable price. The product was made available in a store of the Carrefour Group located in a lower-income neighborhood of São Paulo, showing that sustainability does not need to be more expensive.

“In 2018, the Carrefour Brazil Group, with the support of the Carrefour France Foundation, partnered with IDH to expand projects linked to sustainable livestock farming,” says Stéphane Engelhard, Vice President of Institutional Relations for the Carrefour Brazil Group. “One of our missions, as the country’s leading food retailer, is to assist in educating the population on how to eat. It is very important for consumers to know where the products they buy come from; after all, we endorse what we consume. Whenever we decide on any product, we are also going along with the ideas, values, and practices of a particular company. And for us, quality is non-negotiable,” he adds.

© Fotografo Adriano Brito
Matthew Spencer presents IDH’s global strategy for food systems change


The Farmer’s Leading Role

Brazilian farmers have a key role in building solutions for the sector. Therefore, the tool was elaborated placing ranchers as leading players in this sustainability at a global level, enabling them to access new opportunities.

According to the CNA Institute’s Traceability Protocols coordinator, Paulo Costa, the Confederation, as the protocol’s manager, guarantees the security of the farmers’ strategic information.

“By validating field information with the official data from MAPA (Ministry of Agriculture), CNA verifies whether the guarantees established in the protocol are being met, without exposing strategic information from participating farmers to the other links in the beef chain. In addition, the whole process is audited by TÜV Rheinland, a third-party certification company, which brings more security, exemption, and transparency to the protocol,” Paulo said.

© Fotografo Adriano Brito
From left to right: Andre Driessen (Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands), Matthew Spencer (IDH Global Landscapes Director), Joe Sellwood (Rever Conssulting Director), Jayson Berryhill (Wholechain Co-Funder), Eloísa Hage (Director of Acrimat – Mato Grosso Breeders Association), Kepler Euclides Filho (Advisor to the President of Embrapa), Daniela Mariuzzo (IDH Brazil Executive Director), Stephane Engelhard (Vice-President of Institutional Relations of Carrefour Brazil Group), Paulo Costa (Protocol Coordinator of CNA), Lúcio Vicente (Corporate Affairs and Sustainability of Carrefour Brazil Group), Ida Beatriz (Producer and President of Rural Union in Cáceres-MT/Brazil)

The video of the event is available here

The photos of the event are avaliable here

Learn more about traceability and blockchain here