Soy is one of the biggest drivers of ecosystem conversion globally.
Millions of hectares of critical habitat in the Cerrado, the Atlantic Forest, the Gran Chaco, and Chiquitania in South America, and North America’s Great Plains have been ploughed up for soy fields – and this destruction is one of the leading causes of biodiversity loss and climate change.
However, according to the research, given the high concentration of soy volumes that are traded by just a few big companies, they have the capacity to drive effiecent and immediate large-scale change.
In order to measure the commitments and actions taken by 22 of the world’s biggest soy traders, the two organisations put together a scorecard measuring their environmental impacts and their contributions to human rights abuses.
Of the nine traders who responded to the survey, representing over half of global soy experts, the highest total obtained by a company was only 52.2%.
The scorecard also revealed that commitments lack clear cut-off dates, are not applied equally across full supply chains nor to all ecosystems at risk.
None of the traders assessed committed to a cut-off date of 2020 at the latest for any biomes beyond the Amazon – which would signify a commitment to not sourcing soy produced on land converted after 2020.
Currently the UK Government’s proposed legislation on this issue only stops the importation of products sourced from areas that have been illegally deforested or converted.
With the UK’s new Environment Bill due to return to parliament, WWF is calling on the Government to use the Bill to implement stronger measures to remove all deforestation and habitat conversion from the forest risk commodities imported to the UK by 2023.
Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF, said: ‘Nature is in freefall and our global food and farming system is driving this collapse. Most soy is grown in South America, where too often it comes at the expense of natural ecosystems that are home to both spectacular wildlife and indigenous peoples and communities who rely on the land for their livelihoods.
‘Soy traders must urgently raise their ambitions to stop the destruction of nature, and until the products we buy and the food we eat here in the UK are free of deforesting products, we remain part of the problem. With the Environment Bill due to return to parliament, the UK Government must use this opportunity to set ambitious new laws to end deforestation, reduce our global footprint and set nature on the path to recovery.’
Photo Credit – Pixabay