Development of Brazilian soy Due Diligence system underway
BVRio is using its extensive experience of creating and managing its successful timber due diligence software, to create a new Big Data based service for imports of Brazilian Soy into the UK and EU.
The development project, funded by the Waterloo Foundation, aims to address a key cause of deforestation in Brazil; soy production. Brazil is the leading soy producing country in the world, producing 133 million tonnes of soy in 2020 (1). Brazil is also the leading exporter of soy, exporting 99.5 million tonnes of soy in 2018 which accounted for around 42% of all soy exports globally (2). Since 2000, the area of soy planted in Brazil has doubled, to cover an area of 34 Mha (3).
Concern about this deforestation led to the 2006 Amazon Soy Moratorium – a commitment by traders to avoid the purchase of soy planted on recently deforested land in the Amazon. Whilst the Moratorium has significantly reduced deforestation in the Amazon, there is strong evidence that it also resulted in deforestation activities being shifted to the Cerrado (4). In the Cerrado’s Matopiba region, over the last decade 0.5–0.8 Mha of soy each year has been planted on recently converted land (5). Ongoing clearing may reduce precipitation and increase local temperatures, putting remaining vegetation, livelihoods and continued agricultural production in this region at risk (6).
In November 2021 the EU proposed new regulations to ensure any forest-risk commodities (including soy) imported into these countries are not linked to deforestation. The UK is currently developing similar legislation. These proposals include a requirement for importers to conduct due diligence of the commodities before placing them in the EU and UK market.
BVRio will adapt its existing Timber Due Diligence & Risk Assessment System to meet the complex due diligence requirements of soy. The system will have the potential to trace Brazilian soy from its origin to the end-user, and to check that it has been legally produced, enabling informed decision making related to commodity sourcing and supply chains.
Drawing on a strategic demand-side approach, this project will incentivise farmers and traders in Brazil to produce soy that complies with the Forest Code, as well as UK and European legislation. This will contribute towards reducing soy-related deforestation, responsible for 40% of GHG emissions of the Brazilian agricultural sector. The initiative will also contribute to the objectives of the UK and French Soy Manifestos, as well as the Cerrado Manifesto, and SoS Cerrado, and the Consumer Goods Forum’s Forest Positive Coalition – all initiatives with which BVRio is involved.
Grace Blackham, BVRio Director of Land Use & Operations in the UK commented, “Due diligence of supply chains is not a simple process, as there are many points where soy from different sources mixes, creating a challenge for companies to trace soy from its origin to the end-user. Having created our Brazilian timber due diligence system we have a blueprint which we can adapt to soy, and we aim to have it in place in time for new UK and EU legislation coming into force.”
- IBGE 2017 Municipal Agricultural Production (IBGE Automatic Recovery System – SIDRA) https://sidra.ibge.gov.br/pesquisa/pam/tabelas
- Gibbs et al. (2015): Brazil’s Soy Moratorium. Supply-chain governance is needed to avoid deforestation. Science 347:6220.
- Ermgassen, Erasmus KHJ, et al. (2020) “Using supply chain data to monitor zero deforestation commitments: an assessment of progress in the Brazilian soy sector.” Environmental Research Letters 15.3 (2020): 035003.
- WWF (2021) Deforestation Fronts: Drivers and responses in a changing world