Methodology

The Soy Report Card 2014 assesses major European companies’ commitments, plans and actions on responsible soy.

The Soy Report Card 2014 measures to what extent 88 animal feed, meat, dairy, egg, retail, professional food service and consumer goods companies are using responsible soy in animal feed and derived animal products.

The companies are based in Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. These countries account for a third of soy use in Europe, and 5% of global soy use. Additionally, a large number of the assessed companies have operations outside their home countries.

Some of these companies buy soy directly to make animal feed, others buy and sell products in which soy is already embedded (such as meat, eggs and dairy). 

The Report Card focuses on these countries because Europe is currently the prime market for responsible soy and strong demand there is expected to influence other markets. 

WWF focused this first Report Card on the use of soy in animal products as this accounts for almost three-quarters of all soy produced globally, and the proportion is even higher for soy used in Europe. The Report Card does not assess the companies' use of soy oil or soy for direct human consumption.

Criteria

Companies were assessed according to three engagement levels (commitment, timebound plan and results) across two areas of action (on “responsible soy” and on “no deforestation”). If commitments were public and/or answers were supplemented with documents or web links, the companies were evaluated more positively.

Commitments and results were evaluated positively if related to the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) or ProTerra schemes. WWF believes the RTRS is the best system for achieving mainstreaming of responsible soy. For companies that choose non-genetically modified (non-GM) soy, WWF sees RTRS non-GM or ProTerra as the best options.

These certification schemes, while not perfect, have the most robust criteria on social and environmental issues, such as forbidding the conversion of all valuable habitats including forests, savannahs and grasslands.

Benefit of the doubt

In many cases, companies have clearly set out their commitment to the RTRS or ProTerra for their soy use. However, others, like Marks & Spencer and Waitrose (UK), have been less clear and have made commitments to source soy from “the best” certified sustainable sources “including” the aforementioned schemes.

For the purposes of the Report Card, WWF has given these (RTRS member) companies the benefit of the doubt, but urges them to make their commitment to responsible soy more explicit with regard to the RTRS and ProTerra, or the equivalent, in future.

"No deforestation" commitments

WWF also gives some credit for “no deforestation” commitments which many companies have made in the wake of the Consumer Goods Forum resolution to mobilize resources to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020.

While welcoming “no deforestation” commitments, WWF sees them as incomplete as they do not necessarily protect other biomes like savannahs and grasslands which are being cleared for soy, and they do not address other important issues related to responsible soy production (such as social or other environmental impacts).

It is crucial that companies back up their "no deforestation" policies with membership of a credible certification scheme, such as the RTRS or ProTerra, which requires third party verification of all relevant environmental and social standards.

In addition, some of the commitments are captured under companies’ support of the Soy Moratorium, which stops trade in soy from deforested areas of the Brazilian Amazon. While WWF supports the Moratorium, and gives companies that sign up some credit in the Report Card, it cannot be seen as a comprehensive commitment as it only encompasses the Brazilian Amazon, not other forests or ecosystems affected by soy expansion.


Specifically, WWF asked companies:

  • How much soy do you use in animal feed?

  • Do you have policies/commitments for responsible (RTRS/ProTerra) soy and timebound plans? If so, what have they achieved?

  • Are you committed to no deforestation? What timebound plans and achievements apply?

  • Are you committed to no conversion of other valuable landscapes?

  • Are you a member of the RTRS or ProTerra? When did you join?

  • What supply chain system do you use?

  • Do you have a policy on responsible substitution of irresponsible soy with other protein sources or “local/regional soy”?

  • Do you have a policy on non-GM soy?
In all cases WWF asked for documentation and (public) web links to support statements.

See the full methodology ►

See the Report Card results ►
 / ©: WWF Paraguay
WWF staff with smallholder soy producers
© WWF Paraguay
 / ©: WWF-Canon / Edward PARKER
Intensive cultivation of Soybeans etc. using rotary irrigation system, near Brasilia.
© WWF-Canon / Edward PARKER
 / ©: Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS)
RTRS stakeholders in a meeting.
© Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS)

Companies

Do you represent a company that buys meat or other products using soy? See WWF’s guidance for companies

GROWTH OF SOY REPORT

For more information on the issues related to soy and what you can do about them, check out our comprehensive Growth of Soy Report.

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