oymeal is a major source of protein used in livestock feed, particularly for poultry and pork production. Over the past few decades there has been a surge in the demand for soymeal from South America, and Brazil is now the largest producer of soy in the world.
Committed to zero net deforestation
In 2010 the Consumer Goods Forum adopted a resolution calling on its members to achieve net zero deforestation in their supply chains by 2020. Since this time retailers have played a leading role in identifying, defining, and promoting more responsible sourcing practices to deliver on this commitment for soy. These efforts have ultimately led to the creation of new supply chain policies that have been launched since 2018 covering the direct and indirect supplier requirements. However, assessing compliance with these policies is challenging given the significant gap between a retailer’s direct supplier and those that are involved in the procurement and use of animal feed where soymeal may be present.
Assessing UK supply chains
A group of seven retailers approached 3Keel to quantify and map the use of soymeal in their products sold across Europe. The UK was the biggest single market included in this assessment, covering 78% of total retail sales, and therefore our report presents the results for this market only.
Soy use quantified and sourcing assessed
We engaged with more than 230 livestock producers, packers, and manufacturing suppliers, 95% of which were in the UK. The goal of the work was to:
• Quantify the amount of soymeal present in animal feed used in 2018;
• Identify where the soy was produced; and
• Determine whether any of the soymeal carried a recognised deforestation free production certification.
Retail suppliers were classified by their role in the livestock supply chain, to reflect their proximity and access to data on the levels of soymeal used in the production of their products. We found that those companies rearing livestock directly were both the most likely to have accurate soymeal data and have evidence of sourcing deforestation free soymeal. Approximately 59% of the soymeal assessed in the study is from companies that were able to provide primary data on their soymeal use. The remaining 41% of soymeal was calculated using data on typical usage rates in different types of animal production systems.
Moving towards deforestation free soymeal
26% of the soymeal assessed in the UK supply chains was shown to be sourced from a region free from deforestation or to a certification demonstrating that it did not contribute to land conversion in South America.