In a landmark agreement, the UK food industry joins forces to ensure that all soy is free of deforestation and conversion.
Nearly 40 leading UK food companies and soy supply companies announce landmark set of actions to work together towards ensuring all soy used in animal feed in the UK being deforestation free.
The move coincides with the first anniversary of the UK Soy Manifesto1 and will aid in the conservation of some of the world’s most valuable forests and natural habitats.
Signatories to the UK Soy Manifesto include 38 UK-based brands, retailers, food service companies, and livestock producers such as Tesco, Waitrose, Nando’s, KFC UK and Ireland, Lidl, and McDonald’s UK
38 leading UK food producers, representing nearly 60% of the UK’s soy consumption, and the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC), representing the four major soy importers and the animal feed industry, have today announced a series of comprehensive actions to achieve the goals of the UK Soy Manifesto. An ambitious commitment to eliminate deforestation and conversion from all UK soy imports.
Recognizing that mainstream transformation on this scale cannot be accomplished by companies working within their own supply chains, all businesses along the supply chain, from soy producers to retailers and brands, will take responsibility and act collaboratively. The agreement reached today demonstrates the group’s commitment to collective, cross-supply chain action.
Create a quarterly soy deforestation risk register for UK soy imports, tracking the UK’s progress toward deforestation and conversion-free soy imports.
Agreeing on a joint transition plan, coordinated by a high-level cross-supply chain governance group, with expert stakeholder support to monitor and review the transition, ensuring risk and responsibilities are shared.
A key component of the transition plan will be to ensure that UK companies producing and selling meat and dairy products (using soy in animal feed) have a practical mechanism in place to specify that they require deforestation and conversion free soy, with robust checks and controls in place to ensure standards are met. That is why today’s announcement is so important:
AIC has committed to developing a new verified deforestation and conversion free (vDCF) standard for the UK, which will be independently
Together, these actions will ensure that Signatory companies can turn their ambitions into practical actions, enabling a mass market shift to deforestation and conversion-free soy use in the UK that would have been impossible even a year ago.
This package of measures provides the foundation for this transition, recognising the need to accelerate action to protect forests while also supporting farmer livelihoods in the UK and abroad and maintaining strong resilient supplies of this critical raw material in challenging
James McCulloch, Head of feed sector AIC said:
“The AIC Soy Supply Group commitment to providing quarterly data for a UK risk register is significant as the group is the sole source of data on what is shipped and sold to the UK as vDCF. The data helps all parties understand the progress that has been made and focusses attention and resource on areas where there is still work to be done. Whilst market challenges are real, our industry remains committed to delivering DCF soy and sustainable supply chains.”
“Around the world nature is in freefall, and unsustainable agriculture is driving its catastrophic decline. To protect precious natural habitats like the Cerrado in Brazil, we must urgently ensure soy imported to the UK is not driving the destruction of nature overseas.”
This announcement is timely as nations prepare to gather in Sharm-El-Sheikh for COP27. Nearly a quarter (23%) of the world’s human-induced greenhouse gas emissions originate from agriculture, forestry, and other land uses, and the majority of these emissions are produced by deforestation.
At COP26, which was hosted by the UK in Glasgow last year, a lot of nations and businesses made audacious commitments. Through the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use and the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade Dialogue (FACT) Joint Statement and Roadmap For Action, governments of producer and consumer countries jointly committed to promoting sustainable development and trade while protecting forests and other vital natural habitats. In line with a 1.5-degree trajectory, the creation of the UK Soy Manifesto and today’s announcement are important, doable initiatives that will assist realise these goals.
Along with the promises made today, Signatory nations are urging the global markets to encourage sustainable production by offering financial incentives and technical assistance. The Responsible Commodities Facility (RCF), a new programme of financial incentives for farmers in Brazil who commit to deforestation- and conversion-free (DCF) soy growing, has received investments from UK retailers Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose totaling US$ 11 million. Governments in the regions and countries that are both producers and consumers have a crucial role to play. The key will be to ensure that downstream corporations are required to conduct due diligence on their use of forest risk commodities and that environmental laws protecting
David Edwards, Director of Food Strategy at WWF said:
“Today’s announcement – the product of collective action across the supply chain, including retailers, traders and suppliers – has the potential to drive the long overdue actions the soy sector so urgently requires. But, to ensure it delivers for nature and climate, we urgently need to see an explicit roadmap for implementation to meet the 2025 ambition – including measurable milestones to track progress, and a clear focus on bringing the rest of the sector on board.”
Ashwin Prasad, Chief Product Officer at Tesco said:
“We’re absolutely committed to ensuring we meet our target of sourcing soy from whole areas verified as deforestation-free by 2025, and the launch of the UK Soy Manifesto last year marked a significant milestone on that journey. We’ve made good progress this year with the introduction of the Responsible Commodities Facility, which provides direct support to soy farmers in Brazil, but we can’t solve the issue alone.”
“It’s vital we bring together retailers, brands, food service companies, livestock producers and soy traders themselves to set out a clear pathway to achieving our goal of guaranteeing all soy imported into the UK is deforestation free by 2025.”
The UK Soy Manifesto supports and expands on initiatives in other markets, such as the French Soy Manifesto, that aim to end all deforestation and environmental degradation in soy supply chains. This is done by demonstrating growing industry demand and by showcasing industry action plans.
Following this announcement, the national soy profile is expected to become publicly available in April 2023. Details of the joint transition plan will be made available on the UK Soy Manifesto website.