Recently, news reports have connected our use of soya to deforestation in Brazil. While the reports have included elements of our response, no one has published our statement in full, leaving out important context. For anyone interested in the subject, our response or what further action is needed, our statement is available, in full, below.
We have purchased only soya that is certified as deforestation- and conversion-free since 2019 and this is currently certified, under a mass balance system, to sub-national level. Clearly, the challenge is that there are still non-certified farms growing soya in high risk areas and a demand for their produce. Given the UK comprises less than 1.5% of annual Brazilian soya exports, it highlights the importance of global action to eliminate demand for soya that has been grown on deforested land.
As members of the UK Soy Manifesto group, we have set ourselves the target of using only verified deforestation and conversion free soya by 2025. The manifesto group is working with traders to better understand the origins and risks of the soya we use, and to identify practicable ways of improving the traceability and sustainability through the supply chain. Alongside this work, we have trialled and implemented different diet formulations to reduce the amount of soya in our poultry feed. At present, soya accounts for less than 25% of our birds’ diets.
We accept that, for all our progress, there is still work to do if we are to achieve our 2025 goal. We will play our part, working collaboratively with others in the sector and beyond, but we also know that this will not be enough, if others do not also make similar commitments.