Co-op has taken steps aimed at cutting back de-forestation and the loss of native vegetation caused by ever expanding soy cultivation with a commitment to 100% sustainable soy, it has announced this week.
The retailer has funded 100% RTRS* Credits for the soy in its products, and in its supply chain. The move is designed to protect the natural environment against the impact of increasing demand for the versatile crop, and to ensure that soy becomes sustainable and deforestation free in the long term.
The Co-op has funded credits for the three years to the end of 2020, with the credits directly benefitting the natural environment and supporting sustainable producers – with an estimated 99% of the Credits funded by the Co-op covering soy used in animal feeds in its supply chain.
RTRS credits drive responsible agriculture, including: working conditions, environmental impact, agricultural best practise, traceability and, pesticide use. The retailer is simultaneously working towards sourcing 100% physical sustainable and deforestation free soy across its supply chain by 2025.
Jean-François Timmers, WWF Global Soy Lead, said: “Congratulations to Co-op for their decision to purchase significant amount of RTRS credits. It represents a very concrete step towards fulfilling the objectives of the Cerrado Manifesto Statement of Support (SoS). It also allows it to directly support responsible, full conversion-free soy production in the Northern Cerrado, contributing to end the largest front of ecosystems conversion due to soy on the Planet.”
Sarah Wakefield, Co-op’s Sustainable Sourcing & Fairtrade Manager, said: “Soy plays a part in the production of many products, far more than many people realise – the average European eating over 60kg a year. The increasing demand for animal feed and rising global consumption of meat is having a major impact on the environment in major soya producing countries in South America, as well as the wildlife which depends on the native vegetation for its very survival. This is an issue which will create major challenges for the environment tomorrow, unless transparent, joined-up and, decisive steps are taken today.”
The Co-op backs the UK Roundtable on Sustainable Soy ambitions for an industry-led approach to send a clear market signal for soy that protects forests, native vegetation and livelihoods. It will work with partners in producing countries and suppliers to understand the challenges and the solutions required, while working with others to influence a wider market shift towards deforestation-free soya supply chains and to improve wider understanding of the UK soya impact.
The Co-op will review the approach of credit purchasing for supporting change next year (2020), and will annually report on progress.