France has designated agricultural traders Bunge and Cargill as top soybean importers from areas at risk of deforestation, one of the main causes of global warming.
The companies identified by the French government are trying to clean up the country’s agricultural supply chain with the launch of an online database tracking soybean exports from Brazil to France.
The database shows that about a quarter of Brazil’s soybean exports to France in 2018 came from deforested areas.
Brazil is the world’s largest producer of legumes, mainly used for animal feed and oil. Its production has been one of the causes of tropical rainforest deforestation for decades.
The Amazon and Brazilian savannas are important buffers against climate change, acting as huge carbon stores. In the year to July, Amazon’s deforestation rate was the highest in 15 years, according to Brazilian official data.
The online database, launched by the French Ministry of Ecological Transition with the help of the supply chain transparency group Trase and the environmental NGO Canopee, highlights the role of the largest agribusinesses. world in dealing with potentially deforested items.
It shows Bunge accounted for 70% of the cargo, with soybeans coming from areas threatened by high deforestation risk, while Cargill accounted for almost 10%.
Bunge said it has committed to achieving a deforestation-free supply chain by 2025 and has removed some farmers involved in deforested land from its supply chain.
Cargill says the platform’s data does not reflect French imports, adding that it is committed to eliminating deforestation in the shortest time possible, but does not have a single solution to the problem. .
The French government says merchants and other businesses have been invited to share their data to improve the quality of analysis.
Nico Muzi, of environmental campaign group Mighty Earth, said traders determine the conditions of the global soybean market and can make physical changes if they feel pressured.
Some 411,000 tonnes of the 1.57 million total soybeans, or products made from it, exported from Brazil to France in 2018, were associated with a high risk of deforestation, according to the French website.
France imports about 3 million tonnes of soybean meal, or about 17 percent of the EU’s total output each year, according to the government’s Department of Ecological Transition. “Tracking the flow of these imports poses a risk to the forest. . . will help address supply chain risks,” it said.
The online database was released shortly after global commitment to stop the destruction of the world’s forests at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
EU also published The draft regulation requires companies to demonstrate that the products they sell to the bloc do not contribute to legal or illegal deforestation or forest degradation.
However, the figures on the French website do not prove that the soybeans are grown in areas that have been deforested, and the ecology ministry said it will contact traders about the risk of deforestation in the supply chain. their response.
French supermarket group Carrefour, part of the government working group that helped develop the platform, says it will use the data to weed out soy-based animal feed linked to deforestation. forests from its supply chain by 2025.
The group, along with other leading French retailers, last year signed a soybean manifesto to tackle deforestation and destruction of the steppes. Retailers and food companies in the UK have followed suit, signing a similar manifesto in November.