Campaigners call Louis Dreyfus’ pledges on soy a ‘breakthrough’

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages
Agribusiness giant, Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), announced a zero deforestation policy for its soy supply chain yesterday [July 3].

The commodity trader's Soy Sustainability Policy​ sets out its intent regarding environmental impact, human rights, worker practices, and anti-bribery and corruption in relation to soy production. 

Brazil's Cerrado is a 200m hectare forested savanna © Mighty Earth
The Cerrado is a sprawling savanna stretching across more than 1.2 million square miles (3.1 million square kilometers) of central Brazil. © Mighty Earth report

Mighty Earth, a US based not-for-profit group, which has undertaken several investigations into the impact of the soy trade in South America, said Louis Dreyfus's commitment shows it is possible to expand agriculture on Latin America’s existing one billion-plus acres of already degraded land, instead of clearing intact native vegetation for soy.

CEO of Mighty Earth, Glenn Hurowitz, told FeedNavigator the reasons why it considers LDC's soy policy to be a game-changer.

“It covers all of its soy across South America, not just the Cerrado. It really is the first policy with this level of specificity and seriousness about enforcement, including actions already taken. Louis Dreyfus is also strongly supporting industry joint action such as the extension of the Soy Moratorium success to the rest of South America.”

He said now there is no reason for McDonald’s and other companies to continue doing business with like Cargill and Bunge, two companies who have recently been fined over alleged soy linked deforestation in their supply chains​.

Mighty Earth has encouraged buyers to immediately shift their sourcing to suppliers like Louis Dreyfus.

Louis Dreyfus’ sustainable soy policy

LDC said it commits to influence and collaborate with stakeholders across the soy supply chain in order to:

  • Eliminate engagement in, or financing of deforestation throughout our supply chain, and conserve biomes proven to be of high ecological value, such as the Cerrado, Brazil, with the intent to discourage and eliminate conversion of native vegetation;
  • Uphold the rights of local communities and/or indigenous people;
  • Comply with all eight International Labour Organization (ILO) fundamental conventions;
  • Respect internationally and nationally designated protected areas;
  • Not endanger threatened species, with specific reference to international or national systems of species classification;
  • Abide by rigorous anti-bribery and corruption standards.

In addition, LDC said it commits to:

  • Conduct social and environmental impact assessments for any new infrastructure or logistic development;
  • Pursue continuous improvements in measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as part of its reporting on its industrial footprint.

These principles apply to all business transactions and trading relationships, whether the product is sourced for our use or for others. We expect our supply chain and joint-venture partners to work collaboratively and transparently in applying the above principles, and to implement the equivalent of LDC’s standard operating principles with regards to this Soy Sustainability Policy, as well as the LDC Code of Conduct.”

Louis Dreyfus has made enormous progress in ensuring their supply chain is free of deforestation, but there’s more to do, and they recognize that, said Hurowitz. “As next steps, the company should list its soy suppliers online, as is already common practice in the palm oil industry, and report on their performance, and develop a clear timeline for implementation.”

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