The world’s agribusiness giants published their first reports in June on soyabeans sourced from Brazil’s Cerrado region, which has lost nearly half its native vegetation through economic activity.
The Cerrado was South America’s second largest biome after the Amazon, according to the reports of ADM, Bunge, Cargill, COFCO International, Glencore Agriculture and Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), which are members of Soft Commodities Forum (SCF) convened by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
Covering 2M km2 or 21% of Brazilian territory, the Cerrado had the largest area of farm and ranch land in Brazil, accounting for 88M ha or 44% of Brazil’s total agricultural area. It produced about 40% of Brazil’s beef, 84% of its cotton, more than 50% of its soyabeans and 44% of its corn. Soya in the Cerrado covered 17.8M ha, representing 8% of the 204M hectares of the Cerrado.
Following their commitment to a common reporting framework last February as part of their SCF membership, the company’s first reports are identical apart from their individual percentages of soya sourced from 25 key areas in the Cerrado and their own deforestation initiatives.
The 25 municipalities were chosen because they were completely within the Cerrado biome, had a planted soya area in 2017 of more than 5,000ha, where soya was driving conversion of native vegetation, and where there was the highest overlap of SCF members with potential for collective actions.
The 25 municipalities covered 17,789,098ha or 8.74% of the Cerrado, and had a planted soya area of 2,447,911ha in 2017, or 7% of the total soya planted in Brazil that year.
The reports show the soya volumes sourced by each company in the Cerrado as a percetange of their total soya volumes, the soya volume sourced from the 25 key municipalities, and the volume sourced directly from farmers, based on 2018 data:
ADM - 38.7% (sourced from the Cerrado), 18% (sourced from 25 key municipalities), 93.4% (sourced directly from farmers)
Bunge - 38.6%/39.3%/98%
“This is the first time leading global commodity traders are working together in the soya sector on a pre-competitive project to address sustainability risks they all share, but which no single company can resolve alone,” said Diane Holdorf, WBCSD managing director, food and nature.
“By gathering data and reporting every six months, SCF members are taking an important joint step towards better transparency and traceability of soya produced in the Cerrado,” the SCF added.
“Additional municipalities may be identified as priorities in future reporting cycles. Over time, the SCF expects the rate of native vegetation conversion to diminish in the priority municipalities as a result of targeted sustainability initiatives.”