A roadmap has been launched by the Retail Soy Group – a collaboration of major UK supermarkets and environmental groups – to deliver a deforestation-free soya industry.

More than 75% of global soya production is used as animal feed in the livestock sector, principally in the production of poultry and pork, according to a statement by the group on 5 October.

“The complexities of these supply chains make it challenging for ultimate sellers of these products to ensure that the soya used in animal feed is free of deforestation and conversion. This complexity is further exacerbated by the minimal level of influence that any one individual downstream company has on the overall system…, when even the world’s biggest hospitality and retail businesses use less than 1% of global soya production each,” the statement said.

For the last decade, many individual companies had looked to address this challenge by moving their supply chains to deforestation-free certification systems, the group said. However, concrete results were limited in scale with only about 3% of global soya production currently certified.

“Companies need to rapidly shift from developing niche supply chains to ensuring that the companies within their supply chains are effective agents of change. It’s not about ensuring that Product A or Product B is deforestation- and conversion-free, but rather that every company and every link in the supply chain is fully committed to only sourcing responsibly,” Retail Soy Group representative Will Schreiber said.

The roadmap comprises five principles: credible commitments; transparency; engagement, not exclusion; collaboration and sustainable diets.

Representatives from leading retailers Tesco and Aldi South, and environmental groups the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Global Canopy and Mighty Earth were part of the working group that developed the Retail Soy Group’s roadmap for sustainable soya.