Four of the world’s largest beef and leather companies have agreed to ban the purchase of cattle from newly deforested land in the Amazon.

Marfrig, Bertin, JBS-Friboi and Minerva – which dominate the world export market and supply much of the UK – signed the deal in Sao Paulo yesterday. The move follows pressure from British food and drink companies including Princes, which today announced its own support for the moratorium.

“While Princes specifies that its beef products sourced from Brazil use meat only from livestock reared in long established ranch areas, the company supports the need to bring about an industry-wide agreement to end deforestation,” a Princes spokesman said.

Greenpeace called the agreement a “significant victory”.