Tackling deforestation

FEFAC is fully engaged in facilitating market transparency on responsible soy sourcing, including deforestation-free soy. The Soy Sourcing Guidelines are the key tool FEFAC has developed for this purpose. 

FEFAC acknowledges the importance of EU and global efforts and initiatives to counter biodiversity loss, halt deforestation and promote the respect of human and labour rights, in line with UN SDGs and EU “Green Deal” targets. Soy is considered a forest risk commodity in some biomes and the European soy value chain carries a responsibility to take action where it can make a direct positive contribution. FEFAC welcomes the political ambition by the EU and global institutions to step up joint action on this issue encouraging public-private partnerships. Our members are keen to explore synergies of legislative frameworks and market-led initiatives involving soy exporting countries as equal partners, thereby increasing their capacity to deliver on tackling deforestation. Our industry fully endorses the ambition to “not contribute to the problem”, however we wish to highlight that the global effort to “minimise the deforestation risk” must be held accountable against the “real and measurable impact on the ground”. FEFAC considers that sustainable land management and responsible supply chains are mutually supportive core elements of any successful risk-minimisation strategy, delivering recognition and value for producers while providing verifiable assurance to final consumers.

FEFAC supports the concept of “deforestation-risk exposure analysis” when it comes to soy sourcing, clearly identifying exposure to deforestation risks when sourcing from certain biomes, where a targeted supply chain is necessary and effective in delinking soy from deforestation activities. In fact, the vast majority of soy grown in the world is not related to any issues of deforestation. The IDH Soy Monitor 2018 indicates that deforestation risk exposure of EU soy imports in 2018 was estimated at 19% (source: TRASE). FEFAC would therefore consider that soy sourced from countries/regions with ‘negligible’ deforestation-risks, provides a central part of a verified deforestation-free supply chain, based on trade statistics and traceability records. 

In August 2015, FEFAC published the first version of the European feed industry Soy Sourcing Guidelines, setting 59 baseline criteria (37 essential and 22 desirable), accompanied by verification requirements. FEFAC is working on the upgrading of the Soy Sourcing Guidelines, which will include a mechanism to deliver on FEFAC’s commitment to market transparency for deforestation-free soy sourcing. The Guidelines are a professional recommendation intended to streamline the efforts for the sourcing of responsible (and deforestation-free) soy. The Guidelines consist of a set of minimum requirements related to the good environmental, social and agricultural practices of soy production. The responsible soy programmes that successfully pass the benchmarking process against the baseline criteria are displayed on FEFAC’s customized page on ITC Sustainability Map.

In May 2019 FEFAC and the International Trade Centre (ITC) developed the opportunity for feed companies to join a Responsible Soy Declaration. As part of their commitment, feed companies agree to take specific actions regarding the sourcing of responsibly produced soy products used in compound feed manufacturing in the EU by 2025, from home-grown and imported origins.