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3 ways Cargill is protecting forests in the soy supply chain 

Protecting forests and other important natural landscapes in South America are crucial to the prosperity of farmers and the health of our planet.  

March 15, 2019

When it comes to deforestation and land conversion, South America is a region with particular opportunities and challenges. It is increasingly being called upon to feed the world’s growing population, especially high-growth countries in Asia. The region is naturally suited to efficiently growing productive crops like soybeans. Yet it is also home to vital ecosystem services and critical landscapes, such as the Amazon and the Cerrado savannah region, which need to be protected.

Cargill has been acting for more than a decade to create positive change on the ground across South America with numerous partners. We believe we can have a future where both farmers and forests prosper, and we’re firmly committed to transforming our agricultural supply chains to be deforestation-free. Here are three things we are doing now to continue to drive accelerated progress towards that goal in our soy supply chain.

1. Policy – putting bold accountability in place

We recently released our new policy on sustainable soy production in South America. In short, it says that where we operate, we are going to do the right thing to manage social, economic and environmental considerations. 

To us, this means transforming our supply chains to be deforestation-free and protect native vegetation. We will promote responsible production that benefits farmers and their communities. We will respect the rights of workers and indigenous peoples. And we will  be transparent about measuring our progress and setbacks.  In fact, together with WBSCD’s Soft Commodities Forum, we’ve committed to a common framework for reporting and monitoring progress on transparent and traceable supply chains for soy in Brazil’s Cerrado region. 

2. Practice – training producers to succeed 

Around the globe each year, we partner with hundreds of thousands of farmers to advance sustainable agricultural practices and other ways to produce more from less land.  

In Brazil, to help customers rapidly meet their own deforestation goals, we continue to expand use of our 3S program (“Sustainably Sourced and Supplied”). 3S helps farmers protect forest and other native landscapes. It enables farmers to both measure and improve their performance. It’s verified independently, and it aligns with the most common standards for sustainable soy in the European Union. Read more about 3S and meet two farmers who are growing soybeans with the future in mind. 

Beyond 3S, we’ve trained more than 12,000 farmers on the Brazilian Forest Code to help farmers understand and adhere to the code.

3. Partnership – working together to drive change at scale

We know that no one company, NGO or government agency can put an end to deforestation alone. The practices of deforestation and land conversion today are driven by complex economic forces that span the globe. Working in partnership requires balancing the protection of farmer livelihoods as food demand continues to grow while also protecting the natural resources on which we depend.

“Cargill is contributing to building a new industry standard for supply chain transparency by disclosing measurable progress and setbacks,” said Luiz Amaral, Global Solutions for Commodities and Finance Director at the World Resources Institute, one of Cargill’s most important partners in helping us deliver on our sustainability priorities. “From local companies to big multinationals, it’s this kind of transparency that will lead to a sustainable transformation at the global scale.”

In addition to WRI, Cargill works with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on this issue globally. TNC has collaborated with Cargill for 15 years in helping us build a sustainable soy supply chain in South America. And locally, we join forces with many industry partners, non-profits, policymakers and farmer groups to drive progress. 

The way forward

In addition to these steps, to deliver on our Policy on Sustainable Soy, we will publish a time-bound Action Plan, developed in consultation with stakeholders, no later than June 15, 2019.

Forests and farming must coexist, because all of the world’s people depend on them both. It’s clear that the challenge ahead of us is finding a balance that gives both people and the planet what they need to flourish today and in the future.