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Soybean is one of the most important crops in the world, doubling up as a highly nutritious protein source for both humans and for livestock feed. However, soya growing has led to vast amounts of deforestation and habitat conversion (removal of native vegetation) in tropical areas.
In the last three years, UK industry has made significant progress in supporting the sustainable production of soya, more than doubling the proportion of imports covered by a deforestation and conversion free certification standard and providing greater transparency on the source of soya. While only a small proportion of the UK’s soya may be linked to deforestation and conversion, there is a need for greater collaboration across the supply chain to support and accelerate the transition to fully physical deforestation and conversion free supply chains.
The UK Soy Manifesto sets out a clear commitment from UK industry for all physical shipments of soy to the UK to be deforestation and conversion-free as soon as possible, but no later than 2025.
Signatories to the Manifesto commit to delivering this transition by setting their own robust commitments supported by detailed action plans and embedding this requirement in commercial contractual requirements with suppliers. Crucially, signatories will seek similar commitments from their suppliers and proactively work on industry-led solutions that will support compliance. At the time of launching, 27 companies have already signed up, including leading brands such as Tesco, Nestle, Asda, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, Lidl GB, Nando’s, KFC UK and Ireland and McDonald’s UK and Ireland.
This aligns with the French Soy Manifesto and sits alongside similar initiatives that are under way in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and beyond.
SEI’s Chris West is part of the team that developed the Manifesto. He provided expertise on measuring and monitoring deforestation risk in supply chains. He is also helping develop the concept for the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system that will help ensure that industry commitments to the Manifesto are turned into effective action. Chris’ involvement will continue as the MRV system is developed and then implemented over the next 6–9 months.
The UK Soy Manifesto will be launched at a virtual event on Tuesday 9 November from 13.00-14.30 GMT, to which all are welcome. The event will introduce the Manifesto and the commitments made by signatories. Chris will be speaking, alongside a range of other guest speakers. The event is organized by Efeca, a UK-based consultancy with over 75 years of combined experience in the field of natural resources management.
- Chris West, Deputy Director (Research), SEI York
- Ken Murphy, CEO, Tesco Plc
- Tanya Steele, CEO, WWF-UK
- Representing UK Government, Rosalind Campion, Director International, Climate Finance (Forests, Land Use and Carbon Markets) at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
- Bastien Sachet, CEO, Earthworm Foundation
- Pauline Fabre, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Carrefour
- Additional speakers from industry to be announced