Rise in UK soya imports meet certification standards

11-01-2022 | |
Photo: Canva
Photo: Canva

Figures released this month show that nearly two-thirds of the UK’s soya consumption is meeting global certification standards, representing a huge increase in the last 4 years.

The UK Roundtable on Sustainable Soya annual progress report shows that 62% of the UK’s soya consumption is either covered by a certification standard, has been produced in compliance with an Amazon Soy Moratorium contract or has been sourced from geography at lower risk of deforestation. This compares to an initial understanding that just 15% of soya imported into the UK was covered by a deforestation and conversion-free certification scheme in 2017.

The support of the UK feed industry

It prompted monitoring body Efeca to say that “we have significantly improved our knowledge of the UK’s soya sourcing, with the support of the UK feed industry and key traders… This is evidence of the implementation of Roundtable members’ commitments and has supported a major step forward for the UK.”

Statistics show that in 2020 the UK imported 2.7 million tonnes of soybean meal equivalent directly as beans, meal and oil – of which 2.3 million – was used in animal feed. The source of this soya was mainly Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

“The UK’s pork sector should be recognised, having come together to develop a plan to transition to physically verified deforestation and conversion-free soya.”

In its executive summary, it praised companies such as Cranswick and Moy Park for progressing plans to move towards more physical supply chains of certified sustainable soy, beyond purchases of book and claim certificates.

“The UK’s pork sector should be recognised, having come together to develop a plan to transition to physically verified deforestation and conversion-free soya. Also, AIC, the UK’s largest agrisupply association, continued to make progress in developing and recently publishing a Responsible Sourcing Module to allow UK users of animal feed containing soya to specify responsibly produced soya more easily in supply chains.”

Deforestation and conversion-free soy

The report comes just a month after the launch of the UK Soy Manifesto, where industry leaders committed to sourcing deforestation and conversion-free soy by 2025. Among the organisations supporting this were Tesco plc, Carrefour, the Agricultural Industries Confederation and WWF-UK and it included 27 signatories representing 60%, or approximately 2 million tonnes, of UK soy imports from big foodservice sector players.

Ken Murphy, Tesco CE, said: “The launch of the UK Soy Manifesto is a critical milestone for our industry, bringing together brands, retailers, food service companies and livestock producers operating in the UK and setting out a clear commitment for all physical shipments of soy to the UK to be deforestation and conversion free by 2025.”

The work with a coalition of French companies towards a more aligned pan-European market position and action plan is set to continue and will ensure that commitments mirror and support the principles of the Consumer Goods Forum Forest Positive Coalition Soy Roadmap.

Tony McDougal Freelance Journalist
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