Leading UK and European companies are not doing enough to support sustainable soy production

Retail and restaurant chains among a number of European companies accused of failing to to take adequate steps to purchase sustainable certified soy, according to new research by WWF.

 

WWF’s  Soy Report Card 2014  highlights how companies such as Iceland and Nandos, as well as large animal feed and soy producers, are failing to encourage growers to reduce the negative environmental impacts of soy production.

Soy is the fastest expanding crop in the world, but its growth has been associated with excessive use of pesticides and clearance of tropical forests, grasslands, and savannahs, which leads to increased greenhouse gas emissions and puts species at risk.

Of the 88 major retailers, producers and feed suppliers surveyed from Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, WWF found the best performers were concentrated among retailers, consumer goods manufacturers and the dairy industry. But it warned that little interest was being shown in sourcing sustainable soy by the majority of companies in the feed, meat and egg sectors, with national programmes driving the limited progress evident.

UK retailers Marks & Spencer and Waitrose were among six European companies praised for already buying over half of their soy from certified responsible sources and adjudged to be on track to reach their 100 per cent goals by 2015.

But the report found that household names such as Bernard Matthews, Iceland, Findus, and Nando’s either did not respond to the survey or had not yet taken meaningful action to clean up their soy supply chains.

Duncan Williamson, WWF UK’s food policy manager, said the results were disappointing given the availability of soy that has certified by industry body the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS).

“Europe uses 34 million tonnes of soy a year so companies must take responsibility for reducing deforestation, environmental degradation and social conflict in Latin America, where soya is mainly coming from,” he added. “Only 50 per cent of the RTRS certified produced has been sold, so it’s no longer good enough to say there is no RTRS soy available. We would like to see companies stepping up and supporting the farmers who have taken this important step and buying RTRS soy.”

 

By By Will Nichols 8 May 2014 [source: www.businessgreen.com]