A Greenpeace protester has targeted a Whitchurch branch of Tesco with a poster campaign, emblazoned with the words “Tesco destroys forests for meat”.

The activist, who didn’t want to be named, also delivered a ‘letter of condemnation’ to the branch manager as they visited a number of stores across North Hampshire and West Berkshire. It is part of a wider campaign by the environmental group, which is calling on the supermarket to cut ties with organisations linked with deforestation, particularly in the Amazon.

The protester said: “Deforestation and deliberate fires set to clear land in Brazil are releasing thousands of tonnes of CO2 in to the atmosphere and we need to take action to stop this mass destruction that is accelerating the climate crisis. We can’t ignore the fires, droughts and floods that swept across Europe, Canada and the USA”.

In response to the Advertiser’s request for comment, a spokesperson for Tesco said: “Clearing forest land for crops must stop - we are committed to fully playing our part to prevent further deforestation. We met our 2020 industry-wide target of certified ‘zero net deforestation’ for our own direct soy sourcing a year early.

“Recognising there is more to do, we have set an additional 2025 target to only source our UK soy from verified zero deforestation regions. Our suppliers meet our zero deforestation standards, and we are working with them to meet our 2025 goal.”

The Amazon rainforest is one of the most important for biodiversity in the world. However, in recent years, deforestation rates have been increasing, with a letter published in scientific journal Nature suggesting that rates were at their highest of the decade in 2020, with over 11,000 square kilometres of forest lost.

Two of the main causes of deforestation are clearance for the rearing of cattle and the growth of soy; the latter of which is often used in animal feeds.

Greenpeace claims that Tesco has “no idea” whether the soya used to grow meats for its stores are sustainable or not, while some of its suppliers are linked with deforestation.

This is denied by the supermarket, who say they have taken steps to reduce their impact including the ending of the sale of Brazilian beef in its stores, as well as pushing for change in government and supplier policies on deforestation and supply chains.