China state-owned agribusiness COFCO International has partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to improve soya sustainability, World Grain reported on 31 July.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, would support COFCO International’s subsidiary in Brazil to develop a more traceable and sustainable supply chain in the Matopiba region. The work would focus on screening soya farms in Cerrado’s Matopiba region to ensure compliance with environmental and social criteria and build farmer capacity to apply more sustainable farming practices.

Using farm contours, satellite imagery and other geographical information and official data, the screening’s aim was to guarantee that supplying farms were free from forced labour, were not located on indigenous land, conservation units or embargoed areas, and were compliant with the Amazon Soy Moratorium.

Brazilian satellite imagery and geographic intelligence company Agrosatélite had been selected as the project’s technical partner.

The project was expected to cover 85% of COFCO International Brazil’s direct suppliers in the Matopiba region by 2021, and to fully cover the region by 2023.

COFCO was working towards achieving full traceability of all soya purchased directly from Brazilian farmers by 2023, World Grain said.

“Traceability was never our final destination but rather a tool to go further,” said COFCO International’s head of sustainability Wei Peng.

“With this project we will be able to further screen non pre-financed suppliers for key sustainability criteria and identify those with whom we want to engage more closely.”