Soya 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 soya is fed to animals as soya meal. However, as demand for animal products grows around the world, so does the demand for soya.
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 soya.
We are part of the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) Sustainability Committee, which introduced soya sourcing guidelines in October 2015. For soya 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.
The supply chain for soya is complex but we are committed to responsibly sourcing all our major feed ingredients, including soya, by 2024. As an active member of the UK Roundtable on Sustainable Soya, we support our customers to meet the growing demands for livestock products produced using responsibly sourced ingredients.
Our approach focuses on:
- Metrics: ensuring feed ingredient decisions are based on sound environmental evidence. We conducted one of five pilot projects which helped to shape the EU Feed Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) and worked with the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) to create the database of environmental impact data for ingredients, now being used by the EU Commission.
- Collaboration: we are actively working with suppliers, peers, customers and retailers to benchmark soya supplies, and encourage the use of more sustainably sourced materials.
- Innovation: we are developing cost-effective, responsibly produced alternatives to imported soya, such as NovaPro and Protocell. NovaPro is a rapeseed-based protein for dairy and beef livestock, and Protocell is a yeast-based protein derived from cereal processing.
Nearly 70% of the soya we buy in the UK for our ABN feed mills meets the FEFAC benchmark for responsibly sourced soya. We have also taken steps to ensure our own-brand game feed, Sportsman, only contains soya that is responsibly sourced.