COFCO International, affiliated with China’s largest food processor COFCO Group, pledged to eliminate deforestation and land conversion in its soy supply chain by 2030 in environmentally sensitive regions of South America such as the Amazon and Cerrado, as reported by Reuters on May 23. The commitment is included in COFCO International’s 2021 Sustainability Report published on the same day. The report also suggests that in 2021, the company secured USD700m of new sustainability-linked loan, increased Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) training for contractors by 78%, and set up a Diversity Committee in Brazil to provide training to over 70% of its leaders.
The world’s top crop producers, including COFCO, Bunge [BG:US], and Cargill, have all signed the Soy Moratorium for the Amazon, which prohibits selling, purchasing, and financing soy from areas deforested in the Amazon biome after July 2008. However, in May 2021, the three companies were accused of buying soy from a farmer linked to illegal deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. This is a loophole in supervision as the soy moratorium only bans trading soy from the embargoed lands rather than supplies from farms or farmers. Therefore, a detailed review of the soy supply chain is needed to prevent deforestation and secure sustainability. On May 24, Bunge announced it is now able to monitor and trace at least 64% of soy crops from its indirect supply chains in the Brazilian Cerrado, closer to its commitment to deforestation-free supply chains in 2025.