GLOBAL meat processor JBS has announced a donation worth the equivalent of about A$188 million to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the communities in which its employees live and work around the world.
About 60 percent of the donation will be directed into efforts in Brazil, with most of the remainder to be distributed in JBS communities in the United States. Both have been impacted by COVID-19 infections among JBS meat plant staff. To date, no infections have been reported in JBS beef or sheepmeat plants in Australia.
The donation was announced on Friday by JBS Global chief executive Gilberto Tomazoni during a first quarter financial results briefing.
“The world is experiencing an unprecedented challenge as we collectively face the coronavirus pandemic,” Mr Tomazoni said.
“JBS is committed to making a positive impact in the lives of people and supporting the communities where we live and work,” he said.
The company’s initiative will be divided into three fronts, the company said: public health, social assistance and scientific research and development.
“Our social responsibility investment will extend to all regions of the globe where we are present and will be overseen by an advisory committee comprised of expert medical advisors and audited by Grant Thornton, which waived its fees to participate in the program,” Mr Tomazoni said.
“JBS is dedicated to doing its best in this challenging environment and to continuing to safely operate our more than 400 production units and offices worldwide,” he said.
“Our culture of operational excellence, experienced team, global presence, diversified production and product platform, and our more than 275,000 customers provide us with a clear opportunity to be a part of the solution to this global pandemic.”
“We are confident that this moment will eventually pass and that our response to the adversity we face today will define our company going forward. When this is over, we will move on, knowing that we have done our best to protect the health and safety of our team members, that we have fulfilled our mission to feed the world during the most challenging moment of our generation, and that we have stood side-by-side with society when we were needed most.”
The portion of the donation directed to the US will support JBS communities with donations to provide food assistance, provide funds to help meet critical infrastructure needs including providing personal protective equipment to first-responders, as well as supporting other community-related COVID-19 response efforts.
In Brazil, the donation will support public health, social assistance and scientific research and development, the company said. The donations in Brazil will go to 162 municipalities and 17 states, and will include providing masks, PPE, food assistance, hospital construction and additional Intensive Care Unit (ICU) resources around the country.