More than 80% of soyabeans processed in the EU was sourced from low deforestation risk areas, according to a new report by the European Union (EU) seed crushers and oil processors’ federation (FEDIOL) published on 6 October.

The association’s first monitoring of responsible soya was based on the voluntary reporting by FEDIOL’s member companies. It assessed the volumes of soyabeans compliant with the soya sourcing guidelines set by the EU Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) bought and sold as meal or oil in the EU by FEDIOL’s member companies in 2020.

Its findings showed that 43% of the soya processed last year was compliant with one of the schemes benchmarked according to FEFAC SSGs, according to FEDIOL’s 6 October statement, representing a 79% increase compared to the 2016 volume.

The amount of FEFAC SSGs’ compliant soya product that FEDIOL companies were able to sell as verified or certified in 2020 reached 14%, the statement said, which represented a 3% increase compared to the previous year.

However, there was still a 30% points’ gap between what FEDIOL companies bought and processed and what they sold as verified or certified, due to customers’ limited uptake of soya meeting sustainability criteria, the association said.

To monitor the volumes of low and high deforestation-risk soyabeans entering the EU market, FEDIOL also assessed the geographical sourcing of soyabeans from its member companies and the collection of their aggregated volumes of soyabeans processed in the EU.

For the purpose of the assessment, soyabeans associated with a low risk of deforestation – even if not all supplies had been verified or certified – covered: those of Argentina origin outside the Gran Chaco area; Brazilian soyabeans under the Amazon moratorium or under valid sustainability/no deforestation certification; Canada; EU; Ukraine; the USA.

The assessment concluded that 87% of the soyabeans processed in the EU in 2020 was sourced from regions with a low risk of deforestation, representing a 20% points’ increase compared to 2016.

FEDIOL said further efforts were taken to ensure soyabean production was not linked to the destruction of forests or savannahs in the remaining 13% of soyabeans sourced from high-risk regions.

The key soya players had been working towards producing more without land conversion by enhancing traceability, increasing scrutiny, engaging with farmers to change practices, FEDIOL said.

FEDIOL represents the interests of the EU’s vegetable oil and protein meal industry and FEFAC represents the EU compound feed industry.