UK retailers and food companies commit to deforestation-free soya by 2025

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Representative iStock image

UK’s major supermarkets, as well as the likes of 2 Sisters Food Group, Danone, Nestle, Nando’s, KFC and McDonald’s have signed a new joint commitment to eliminate soy that has resulted in deforestation or land degradation from their animal feed and product supply chains.

As per the new UK Soy Manifesto launched earlier this week, a total of 27 companies from across the food sector, which collectively account for 60 per cent of all soy purchases made by UK businesses each year – have pledged to more sustainable sourcing of soya by 2025.

“The UK’s consumption of soy – 3.5 million tons in 2020 – though small in global terms, is contributing to pressure on biodiverse landscapes such as the Cerrado, the Atlantic Forest, the Gran Chaco and Chiquitania in South America,” says the manifesto.

“UK consumption of soy in 2017 led to an estimated 3,081 hectares of deforestation, an area twice the size of the City of London. Soy is one of the main contributors to the UK’s deforestation and conversion footprint today.”

Companies signed up to the Manifesto are 2 Sisters Food Group, Aldi, Asda, Avara Foods, the Co-Op, Cranswick, Danish Crown, Danone, Dunbia, Greencore, Hilton Food Group, Iceland, Kepak, KFC UK&I, Lidl, Marks and Spencer, McDonald’s UK&I, Morrisons, Nando’s, Nestle, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose & Partners. 

In order to ensure rapid progress towards this goal, all signatories have agreed to:

  • Set a robust deforestation- and conversion-free commitment, so no soy arriving in the UK is responsible for habitats being cleared for agriculture after January 2020.
  • Ask direct suppliers to adopt the same commitment, and require that of their suppliers as well.
  • Write Manifesto commitments into contracts and supporting suppliers to ensure targets are met.
  • Publicly share details of their progress
  • Support improved reporting, in order to check that soy coming into the UK is not responsible for deforestation or destruction of other ecosystems.