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NPA welcomes progress on responsible soya sourcing

19th Dec 2019 / By Alistair Driver

The UK livestock industry has nearly doubled the volume of soya imports covered by a standard that ensures it is produced responsibly.

soyaAs of October 2019, 27% of soya consumed in the UK was covered by a deforestation and conversion free soya standard. This is a significant increase from the baseline report in 2018, which showed only 15% of soya was covered by the standard.

The progress is revealed in the UK Roundtable on Sustainable Soya’s 2019 Annual Progress Report. It sets out the group’s current understanding of the UK’s soya footprint in terms of volumes, source and sustainability credentials, as well as progress made by the members, which include the NPA.

The UK annually imports approximately 3.2 million tonnes of soya bean equivalents in the form of soya beans, meal and oil. Most comes from South America, either directly (68%) or through the Netherlands, and from the USA. At least 0.6 million tonnes of additional soya are imported indirectly ‘embedded’ in products. Approximately 90% of the EU’s soya is used to feed livestock, typically in the form of soya meal.

With a growing focus on the sustainability of livestock production, including the environmental impact of sourcing South American soya for pig feed, the fact that more than a quarter of imports are now covered by the standard is welcome progress.

The roundtable is forecasting that this figure will increase in line with the new or strengthened commitments made over the past year by eight major retailers and other UK RT members.

“When these commitments are fully implemented the combined tonnage could represent an estimated third of the UK’s soya consumption alone,” the report says.

“There remain challenges, and in the coming year Efeca, experts in sustainable farming and forestry, as facilitator of the Roundtable will strive to engage with sectors who are not currently well represented in the Roundtable such as food service as well as meat and dairy brands.”

Efeca is planning to work with industry associations to develop sector specific plans to help achieve 'a mass market transition to deforestation and conversion free soya'.

NPA response

NPA policy services officer Lizzie Wilson, who sits on the roundtable, said: “This is very welcome progress and shows that livestock producers and the supply chain are taking the issue seriously.

"Of course, there is more to be done and, with the spotlight on soya sourcing becoming ever more intense, I have no doubt the pig industry will continue ensure the protein used to feed pigs is sourced responsibly.”