Temperate and tropical forests are some of the most valuable ecosystems on our planet, in fact we depend on them for our very survival. They are invaluable harbours for biodiversity, help mitigate climate change, protect soils from degradation and support the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them.
We also understand that forests aren’t the only types of ecosystems in our supply chains that warrant protection. Expansion of agriculture to feed a growing global population is driving pressure on land with high conservation value, such as the Cerrado in Brazil, Gran Chaco in Argentina, local peatlands, land of high carbon stock and land home to protected and endangered species and we are equally committed to protecting this, alongside the rights of indigenous communities and people who make these environments their home.
For many years we have had commodity specific policies in place to address standards of production for products like wood & derived materials, and palm oil. However, we recognise the need for further action to protect vulnerable ecosystems and improve traceability, this is why we have made a commitment, for key risk commodities, to assure zero deforestation or conversion of high conservation value land in our supply chains by 2025.
Our plan to meet this commitment starts with action on soy, an important commodity widely used in agricultural supply chains and includes a commitment to further progress on established policies for timber, pulp, palm and cattle products. Where possible, we are also committed to achieving physical supply chains within this timeframe.
Deforestation action plan:
- Launch Soy policy 2020
- Ensure all own brand products including soy as an ingredient are sourced soy from deforestation and conversion free farms.
- Working within farmer groups, start trials for taking soy out of animal feed for ruminants (beef, sheep and dairy cattle)
- Launch a requirement for certified sustainable soy in feed for poultry, pork and fish products, focusing on regional support for sustainable soy agricultural practices.
- Revised Palm policy 2020
- To include progressive targets for segregated supply chains by 2025
- Revised Timber policy 2021
- Including phased scope extension to include packaging and marketing materials
Over centuries humans have inevitably changed much about the natural environment and it would be impossible to claim that land any of our products are produced on have never been cleared. In many cases voluntary agreements related to commodity production, or third party standards that can be used to assure the production of key commodities and can assure of no deforestation. With the introduction of our policy we committed that we will not take products from any areas which have been deforested or converted after 2018.
However, ongoing work with other retailers and food businesses reviewing the soy sector this year is calling for all parties to back a cut off date of 2020 for soy traders. This target date has gained wider industry traction and as such we will align our cut off date from 2018 to 2020 across forest risk commodities to help reduce confusion around cut off dates for key traders and facilitate systemic change.
Our commitment on deforestation and land conversion is overarching. Individual commodity standards will continue underpin our approach to addressing this commitment and more information and updates on these commodities can be found here.
Fundamentals of our approach to deforestation:
- Zero deforestation or conversion of high conservation value land
- Cut off date of 2020 if not preceded by existing standards
- Physical supply chains for key forest risk commodities by 2025
- Specific policies for key forest risk commodities
- Updates shared online
What does zero deforestation mean?
Zero deforestation means no forest areas are cleared or converted. It allows for sustainable management of forests ecosystems, and includes the allowance for harvesting timber at a sustainable level which does not negatively impact biodiversity (such as under the Forest Stewardship Council standard).
What does physical supply chains mean?
Commodities like soy and palm are traded and processed on incredibly large scales and credit trading can be used as a mechanism to allow a buyer to purchase credits for the sustainable production of these products without their supply chain actually using them. This provides a valuable market to help support the sustainable production of these products, however our plan prioritises transition from the use of credits to physical supply chains standards that assure of zero deforestation (e.g. mass balance or segregated).