Brazil soy companies commit to zero deforestation

Workers at a soy plantation in Brazil, photo: Reuters/Roberto Samora
Workers at a soy plantation in Brazil, photo: Reuters/Roberto Samora

Brazilian soy traders CJ Selecta, Caramuru Alimentos and Imcopa Food Ingredients have committed to zero deforestation in their supply chain. The companies are banning the trade in soy grown on land deforested after August 2020 in Brazil.

Patricia Sugui, CJ Selecta’s sustainability manager, said the three are part of a group promoting soy sustainability and the move “is an answer to demands of civil society.”

The three companies mostly supply Norway’s salmon industry, where soy is used as fish food. Seventy-five percent of the world’s soy production goes to animal food. Because demand is growing, natural forests in Brazil are being flattened to grow soybean plants.

Their commitment is the first of its kind for Brazilian soy suppliers, putting pressure on larger players such as Cargill and Bunge. These two companies exported 5.6 million tonnes of soybean meal last year, representing 23% of the total, shipping data show.

“We applaud this initiative by Caramuru, CJ Selecta and Imcopa to protect the Brazilian environment,” Cargill told Reuters.

Bunge said in a statement it has committed to eliminating legal deforestation from all of its supply chains by 2025, “the earliest deadline in the industry.”

Most of Brazil’s soy is grown in the Cerrado savanna. Caramuru, which exported 817,000 tonnes of soybean meal in 2020, said it will use satellite and government data to enforce the commitment.

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