Soybean harvesting in Brazil has caused significant deforestation in recent years © Brazil 123RF
Soybean harvesting in Brazil has caused significant deforestation in recent years © Brazil 123RF

Asda makes deforestation pledge for soy supply chain

Asda has committed to eradicating deforestation from its soy supply chain by 2020.

All soy used both in food products and for agricultural purposes will cause zero net deforestation by 2020, the retailer pledged.

The company’s sustainability manager, Laura Babbs, said Asda will “work with suppliers” to identify soy sourced from high-risk countries and require that they are “covered by zero-deforestation soy credit schemes by 2020”.

“Soya sourced from low-risk countries, like the US, must ensure compliance with appropriate good agricultural practices,” she added.

According to the WWF, high-risk regions include Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and its Cerrado savannah, as well as areas of Argentina and Paraguay.

The retailer said parent company Walmart would help enforce this through its membership of the Consumer Goods Forum, a group of companies committed to creating more sustainable supply chains. Unilever, Colgate and Nestlé are also members of the forum.

Asda currently uses 225,000 tonnes of soy a year, one-third of which (76,000 tonnes) carries a sustainability certification. The majority of soy used by the company is used as animal feed.

“Soya production can exist without deforestation, but the supply chain is complex and creating change requires collaboration between retailers, suppliers, governments and NGOs,” said Babbs.

“At Asda, we’re committed to playing our part and making sure that we safeguard our forests for the long term.”

Last month, SM reported Lidl committed to responsible sourcing of soy, announcing that its soy supply chain was 100% sustainable.

A member of the Roundtable for Responsible Soy (RTRS), Lidl has purchased the organisation’s credits for its entire soy supply chain, becoming the first UK supermarket to do so.

RTRS credits ensure that soy farmers receive benefits for producing soy to sustainable standards.

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