Soy harvest

The group has agreed to produce a quarterly soy deforestation risk register for UK soy imports, tracking the UK’s progress in the importation of deforestation and conversion-free soy

Leading retailers, food producers and soy importers have set out actions to deliver on the aims of the UK Soy Manifesto.

The 38 UK businesses (representing nearly 60% of the UK’s soy consumption) alongside the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) – which represents the four major importers of soy and the animal feed industry – have marked the first anniversary of the manifesto by outlining a package of measures to provide building blocks for the soy supply chain’s transition away from unsustainable practices.

The group, which counts the likes of Tesco, Waitrose, Nando’s, KFC UK&I, Lidl and McDonald’s UK as manifesto signatories, has agreed to produce a quarterly soy deforestation risk register for UK soy imports – tracking the UK’s progress in the importation of deforestation and land conversion-free soy.

“The data helps all parties understand the progress that has been made and focuses attention and resource on areas where there is still work to be done,” said James McCulloch, head of feed sector at AIC. “Whilst market challenges are real, our industry remains committed to delivering DCF soy and sustainable supply chains.”

In addition, the group has agreed a transition plan co-ordinated by a cross-supply chain governance group, with support of stakeholders, to monitor and review the transition, ensuring risk and responsibilities are shared.

The transition plan will ensure UK companies producing and selling meat and dairy products have a practical mechanism to specify that they require deforestation and conversion-free soy.

This will be enforced by a new verified deforestation and conversion-free standard, which will be developed by the AIC for the UK and will be independently verified.

“It’s vital we bring together retailers, brands, foodservice companies, livestock producers and soy traders themselves to set out a clear pathway to achieving our goal of guaranteeing all soy imported into the UK is deforestation-free by 2025,” said Ashwin Prasad, chief product officer at Tesco, one of the food producers in the group.

In addition to these plans, signatory members are also calling for global markets to provide financial incentives and technical support to boost sustainable production.

The UK Soy Manifesto, launched last year, aligns with and builds upon similar initiatives in other markets such as the French Soy Manifesto, to show increasing demand and action plans from industry on removing all deforestation and ecosystem destruction from soy supply chains.