Nutreco launches ambitious new soy and palm oil sourcing policy

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Cavan Images
© GettyImages/Cavan Images

Related tags deforestation Soy Palm oil

Dutch fish feed and animal nutrition group, Nutreco, is aiming to source soy and oil palm ingredients by 2025 that are free from both legal and illegal deforestation, with the purpose of limiting its impact on biodiversity and climate change.

Deforestation is one of the major sustainability challenges for the agri- and aquaculture sector.

“Soy and oil palm are major deforestation drivers, with over half a million hectares of rainforest, peatland and savannahs destroyed each year for the expansion of these crops,” ​writes Nutreco in a report outlining the new sourcing policy​. 

Annually, the company buys around 1.5m tons of soy ingredients and 80,000 tons of oil palm products.

Certification schemes and standards around these raw materials do exist but they are numerous and provide a variety of deforestation assurances.

These assurances vary per certification and they are continuously evolving, to reflect increased knowledge and ambition levels. To address the challenge of ensuring compliance with certifications, Nutreco procurement teams have launched a transparent policy, highlighting soy-producing regions with low and high risk of deforestation, and outlining the procurement requirements in areas of higher risk," ​said Nutreco, which has a fish feed arm, Skretting, and an animal nutrition division, Trouw Nutrition. 

In order to establish a risk map, the Dutch group said it used data on carbon emissions resulting from the direct land use change by soy and oil palm cultivation.

“Although the data used and evaluation done is solid, in time the data and the methodology can no doubt be improved…

“For now this evaluation is seen as good enough to move forward to implement the policy, but a committee will be formed (potentially with external members) to review the document. It will be important to look for more detailed data that considers the main causes/drivers of deforestation in the countries where deforestation is relevant. In addition, this type of risk assessment should be regularly updated," ​explained Nutreco.

Sourcing categories 

In its new soy and palm oil ingredients sourcing policy, the Class A category are raw materials free from both legal and illegal deforestation.

“Class C-D are alternate value chains for soy and oil palm ingredients available to support us with our ambition. To achieve deforestation-free soy and oil palm ingredients, all these value chains will be employed throughout the implementation of this policy.”

Decision tree

decision tree nutreco
Nutreco's sourcing decision tree applies for all soy and oil palm ingredients, including conventional and organic and where the soy or oil palm ingredient is part of a blend/mix. © Nutreco December 2020

Interim goals

By the end of 2021, the goal is that Skretting will only sourcing soy and oil palm ingredients from low risk regions or high risk regions with certification verifying no illegal deforestation has occurred (Class C as a minimum), it said.

Then the plan is, by the end of 2023, Skretting will be sourcing soy and oil palm ingredients from low risk regions or from high risk regions, under certification schemes that do not allow either legal or illegal deforestation using at least a mass balance or credit system (Class B as a minimum).

By the end of 2025, the ambition is that both Skretting and Trouw Nutrition will be only sourcing soy and oil palm ingredients from low risk regions or from high risk regions that are free from legal and illegal deforestation, in fully segregated physical supply-chains under third party certification schemes (Class A only).

"There is immense satisfaction in seeing our corporate divisions Skretting and Trouw Nutrition coming together and moving forward with ingredient purchasing policies that are pragmatic and can be implemented by our procurement managers in over 37 countries,”​ said Jose Villalon, Nutreco sustainability director. “These policies are fully aligned with our corporate sustainability strategy, RoadMap 2025."

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