Soy is a concentrated source of protein making it ideal as animal feed and indispensable in some products, especially for young animals. Approximately three-quarters of the world’s soy is fed to animals as soy meal. However, as demand for animal products grows around the world, so does the demand for soy.
One of the main growing regions is in South America where there is a risk that the increase in demand is met by clearing land, sometimes illegally or at the expense of local communities and precious natural ecosystems. Deforestation is the second largest contributor to climate change, after fossil fuel combustion.
We are therefore working in partnership with soya producers, NGO's and other purchasers to increase the availability of responsibly produced soy.
Our ambition is to source 100% of our soy, and other raw materials, from certified responsible sources by 2024. We chair the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) Sustainability Committee, which introduced soy sourcing guidelines in October 2015. For soy to be certified by schemes meeting the FEFAC benchmark, it must be grown in ways that protect the environment and preserve soil integrity. The producer must also prove that it adopted good agricultural practice – such as minimising the impact of the use of agrochemicals – and that its workers are treated and paid fairly.
Within our UK feed manufacturing business, 65% of the total volume of soy we buy now meets the FEFAC benchmark standard, up from 50% last year. We are also now able to offer our customers products where all of the soy is responsibly sourced, such as our own-brand game feed, Sportsman.
We are a member of the newly formed UK Round Table on Sustainable Soy, both as a company and through our involvement with the UK Agricultural Industries Confederation. This is a government-led initiative which is working on eliminating deforestation from the soy supply chain.