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NGOs are alarmed that EU anti-deforestation law could let soy-driven forest destruction off the hook

8 November 2021

NGOs are alarmed that EU anti-deforestation law could let soy-driven forest destruction off the hook

In a letter, a coalition of NGOs urged the EU Commission to ensure that all soy imports, including soybean cake and soy-protein concentrate (SPC), and those produced through the conversion of savannahs, are included in the scope of the upcoming EU anti-deforestation law. If soybean cake, SPC and soy products produced through the destruction of savannahs like Brazil’s Cerrado are not included, the law would be exempting from its regulations the single largest cause of deforestation driven by EU consumption: soy from South America for animal feed. Further, it would undermine efforts to protect Europeans from being complicit with the destruction of forests and woody savannahs in Brazil.

Animal feed from soy has caused more deforestation than any other commodity imported into the EU between 2005 and 2017, greater even than the destruction caused by palm oil.

More than half of all soy imports into the EU in the period 2017-2018 were in the form of soybean cake (HS code 2304). In the case of Argentinian soy, almost all imports in the same period were soybean cake.

According to commodity supply chain transparency initiative Trase, soybean cake imports from Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay are linked to the same levels of deforestation as soybeans imports.

In sum, if the regulation fails to include these soybean cake imports, it would, at best, ignore half of the problem. At worst, it would become a perverse incentive for soy traders to crush all soybeans at origin and turn them into soy meal and cake for exports to the European market, wiping out any potential environmental benefit of the law. [...]

The upcoming EU regulation on forest-risk commodities has the potential to provide a much-needed level playing field for Europe’s businesses using soy. The EU has the historic opportunity to help companies operating in Europe to achieve Deforestation- and Conversion-free soy supply chains.

The NGOs urged the EU Commission to seize this opportunity and propose a law that covers:

  • all ecosystem destruction caused by soy
  • all soy imports, including soybean cake and SPC

Categories: News, NGO statements, Sustainable Supply Chains, Brazil

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