Bulk of EU soybeans sourced from regions with low-deforestation risk, says crusher organization

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Phototreat
© GettyImages/Phototreat

Related tags deforestation Brazil Palm oil Soy FEDIOL

EU crushing companies are singing the same tune. Once again they report being unable to sell soybeans they purchased at their real value as most customers are not willing to buy soy products certified sustainable, including no-deforestation criteria, if it entails having to pay a premium.

When this happens, the crushers sell the soy product as ‘standard’ although it is verified or certified, leaving them with the burden of covering the premium paid for the soybeans, reported EU soy crushing industry representatives, FEDIOL.

In 2022, 35% of the 13,862,000 tons of soybeans bought and processed by EU crushers was compliant with one of the schemes benchmarked according to the revised FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines ​(SSGs); that was a reduction of 7 percentage points compared to the volumes bought in 2021.

The amount of FEFAC SSG compliant soy product that FEDIOL companies sold as verified or certified to customers increased slightly however; those volumes rose 2 percentage points to 9%, an increase on the 7% registered in 2021, noted the organization in an update​ today.

fediol data 2023 soy

FEDIOL also assessed the geographical sourcing of soybeans from its member companies, based on the crushers' geographical knowledge of the origin of their supplies and the collection of their aggregated volumes of soybeans processed in the EU.

The report showed that, in 2022, EU crushers sourced 96% of the soybeans they processed from regions with a low risk of deforestation, an increase of 17 percentage points over 2021, while only 4% from high-risk regions.

For the purpose of this assessment, FEDIOL said soybeans associated with a low risk of deforestation - even if not all supplies may be verified or certified - cover those purchased from the EU, Ukraine, the US, Canada, Brazilian soybeans under the Amazon moratorium or under valid sustainability/no-deforestation certification, and Argentina origin outside Gran Chaco area.  

Its monitoring program does not provide any indication about volumes that will be able to comply with the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) in December 2024, when the 18-month transition period ends, and when the main aspects of those new rules kick in for large companies.

Palm oil data

FEDIOL has long been monitoring certified sustainable palm oil used in Europe and it released data on that supply chain as well this week. Its report​ covers intake of volumes of crude palm oil and fractions entering EU re­fineries.

In 2022, the total volumes of certified sustainable palm oil reached a 64% share of total palm oil used, with a reduction of 0.5% points compared to the previous year. "The majority of this certified sustainable palm oil was traded under segregated chain of custody, while mass balance continued a steady decrease."

And the organization noted that 98% of the total intake volumes of palm oil of FEDIOL companies participating in the survey were traceable.

Last year saw FEDIOL members refine a total volume of 3.03m tons of palm oil. "This represents a drop of -7.4% from the 2021 volumes and implies a continuation of the downwards trend registered since 2017."

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