What I Think About This So-Called Scandal

People keep tagging me on the JBS CDP thing. Here’s a wee rant.

B. Lorraine Smith
4 min readApr 1


CDP rankings are meaningless when it comes to impact on the ground. This is not a scandal. We need to focus on the real scandal, and do real things to change it. (Screen grab from the article).

***What follows is a somewhat inside-ESG-baseball rant. You are forewarned.***

There is a scandal — and it’s not the CDP ranking

I guess I’ve made myself into a mini-lightening rod on the topic of global meat company JBS’s claims around environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impacts, given the recent Matereality assessment I did. (Briefing here ICYMI). People keep tagging me on the “scandal” about JBS’s CDP ranking improving in spite of concerns about deforestation in their supply chain — concerns I share in this 5-minute video.

But debating CDP rankings is the wrong conversation to have, and it’s a dangerous distraction.

We could discuss all day long whether or not the CDP should rate a company like JBS as an A-, or as anything at all. What will this change? Nothing.

I mentioned it in my recent newsletter and I’ll say it again here: anything that seeks to divide people isn’t something I want to energize in the shift to an economy that works in service of life. Shredding CDP rankings is divisive and misses the point.

It diverts our attention from where it is needed, which is to understand and improve what is happening on the ground.

Stay grounded in reality

I want to see things improve on the ground, not in rankings. I can choose to examine what’s happening right outside my front door, or on the other side of the world, or some combination.

This entails asking question such as:

  • Are more holes being ripped into the earth to create more things for people to buy?
  • Are more people being lulled into believing they need those things in order to succeed in life?



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B. Lorraine Smith

Recovering ESG "expert"; yarn spinner; distance runner; magical realist. Sensing a path to an economy serving life. also at https://blorrainesmith.substack.com/